RESTORATION DE VOORUIT (2020-2035)
Major restoration works will take place in De Vooruit from 2020 to 2035. The works will take 15 years (!) and will be carried out in five phases of a maximum of three years each. The total cost amounts to almost 16 million euros. During all this time, De Vooruit will remain accessible - one of the government's necessary requirements - and disruption to the public will be limited.
The Flemish government provides 10.855 million euros for the works, divided over five heritage grants. That amount was granted under a Multi-Year Premium Agreement for the restoration of Vooruit's Feestlokaal, approved by the Flemish government in December 2017. Arts Center VIERNULVIER itself is responsible for 1.75 million euros.
The first phase will run until the end of 2021, tackling priority repair works. We are also making some sustainable and energy-saving interventions (better roof insulation and double glazing), improving accessibility, realizing the Majolica kitchen, renovating the Café and kitchen, and refurbishing the Theatre Hall's boxes.
Four more restoration phases will follow. The second phase of works is planned for 2021-2024, and will mainly involve restoration of the rear building. Phase three starts in 2026-2027, with a focus on all annexes. Phase four is scheduled in 2029-2030. The final phase is then scheduled for 2032-2032 and involves mainly interior restoration.
The restoration works under the Multi-Year Premium Agreement are made possible in part thanks to the support of the Flemish Government - Agency for Immovable Heritage. Architectural firm Arch & Teco was responsible for the design.
Architect Leen Bruggeman of the architectural firm Arch & Teco is supervising that new restoration phase. Below, Leen explains what works are planned for the next fifteen years. In particular, the roofs, facades and interior will be taken care of.
First phase (2020-2021): priority restoration works
The first phase of the restoration works involves the highest priority works, spread across the entire building of De Vooruit. For example, we will support the rear façade on the Scheldt quay and restore the unique south tower on the front façade in the Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat. The kitchen is moving from the VIERNULVIER Café to the renovated Majolica room.
"The contractor is stabilizing the 40-meter-high rear building, where the Concert Hall is located. The contractor is drilling foundation piles into the ground up to 10 meters deep. Further work includes addressing concrete rot, waterproofing several roofs and moisture-proofing interventions. Inside the building, interior doors will be repaired, a new floor will be installed in the Concert Hall and the stairwell in the front building will be restored."
Matthias Belpaire, infrastructure coordinator Arts Center VIERNULVIER
Arts Center VIERNULVIER also received an investment grant from the Cultural Infrastructure Fund (FoCI) in 2020 to make De Vooruit more energy efficient. This will include investments in the coming years, such as better ventilation and a more sustainable light park.
A new look for Vooruit
In previous phases we built the Vooruit Terrace and the bike shelter next to the Café (2012-2013), future-proofed the Concertzaal and entrance area (2015) and gave the former COOP supermarket – renamed to the Groene Coop – a new function as a workspace for all ancillary services (2014-2015). This last phase, which began in 2017, won’t go by unnoticed, either. We’ll be tackling some key areas.
A new entrance area
Vooruit is a hive of activity: over 350,00 visitors pass through its doors every year, suppliers deliver and collect goods every week, and theatre companies move in and out with their productions. For us it’s important that everyone continues to feel welcome at Vooruit, and that as a visitor you can find your way around without difficulty. It’s also crucial that our suppliers, artists and employees can work in a safe and unhindered manner.
So, what are the specific plans for the entrance area? First and foremost, the space will be made much wider, larger and more pleasant to be in. The ticket desk is also receiving a serious makeover, with a mind to improving the quality of service even more. Finally, the former candy store to the left of Vooruit will be incorporated in the refurbished entrance area. This space will also be home to a number of new studios for artists.
New studios for residents
Over the years Vooruit has given many artists and companies a peaceful place in which to tinker on new projects. Now, with the renovations, we are responding to a cry from the artistic field for more maker’s studios for residencies.
On the ground floor and first floor we are building an Open Atelier and new studios. This will allow Vooruit to continue to provide artists with proper support. The Candy Store will become an integral part of these new residency spaces, with a number of brand-new studios being the crowning achievement. The spaces will be utilised in a flexible manner for a diverse range of activities: as development and rehearsal spaces for artists, as exhibition spaces and as locations for workshops.
More technical storage space
Vooruit has a rich artistic history and has now started giving an increasing number of large productions space both on and off our stages. All these productions also demand a considerable degree of technical support. There is an urgent need for new storage space in order to ensure the careful handling of equipment. During these renovations we will therefore create a number of new technical storage spaces that meet today’s safety standards. In this way, employees, suppliers and theatre companies can work even more safely and smoothly.
New stage rigging in the Theater Hall
The stage rigging system on the Theater Hall stage was fully automated in the summer of 2018. For the technical crew, the new pull wall - the machinery that allows scenery or lighting to be suspended above the stage - represents a fantastic step forward. The wall is much safer and easier to control than the old one.
The installation consists of 43 pulls above the scene, two side pulls and two pulls above the front scene. Each pull was given a separate motor. One pull is provided every 25 cm. The pulls can handle a lifting load of 300 kg, the speed per pull was limited to 1.2m/s.
A more sustainable Vooruit
It’s no secret that sustainability is high on our agenda at Vooruit. That’s why during these renovations we have opted for eco-friendly solutions that limit our CO2 footprint.
What are we doing, exactly?
- We’re opting for LED lighting everywhere.
- Once renovated, the Candy Store will be a nearly zero-energy building (NZEB). The main façade and the façade of the Candy Store will serve as a climate-control buffer. We’ll use the sun as a boiler to heat up the air and distribute it throughout the Candy Store. The eco-friendly façades in turn serve to purify the air.
- In the basement we will once again install a rainwater reservoir and use this water for flushing the toilets and filling the eco-friendly façades of the Candy Store.
- We will divide up the building more logically, too: all facilities for artists will be located at the front of the building.
Would you like to know more about our renovation plans? We’ll be happy to share the latest updates with you via this page, email newsletters and social media. If you have any questions or comments for us, please get in contact by sending an email to email@example.com or just drop by.
Vooruit’s Renovation Masterplan has been made possible thanks in part to the Flemish Government’s Cultural Infrastructure Fund and the City of Ghent, and was designed by Dial Architects / Geert Pauwels.