The complex was initially in a state of disrepair, and the architects took great care in removing cement patches added in the 70s which would have further deteriorated the original brick. The design was clearly thought through for the long-term – the team applied metal and other materials which can then be easily removed during future rehabilitation efforts. Even the PH of the mortars and paints match the existing materials.
The use of the space as a public venue was also carefully considered. The many concrete ramps and open portals to the street offer bicycle-friendly paths, which local kids on BMXs will soon made full use of. A glass-lined subterranean assembly is placed smack dab in the middle, with a shallow ramp funneling visitors downwards.
The main building’s huge attic, which is made from large timbers, has been converted to daylit multi-use spaces complete with rows of skylights. The building has been carefully restored with electrical and plumbing services carefully placed to reduce penetrations in the walls and floors.
The location of the old fortress in the middle of town makes it a natural hub for transportation and assembly, and the extensive green roof incorporates it into the city’s urban green belt. The high albedo of the plaza and green roof also helps reduce the summer’s heat. The structure’s original purpose was to keep strangers and foes out – however the bastion has now been reborn as magnet for visitors with its many paths of egress and open program.
Lead Photo © Prowa Bennert