The new sports hall De Koekoek in Hamont-Achel is optimally fitted into the green residential surroundings and characterized by the use of natural materials and light colours. The red bricks at ground-floor level give the building a warm look. The large windows in the frontage and the curved glass at the corner of the facade provide transparency and ensure that the building melds gently into its environment. The compact sports hall is sustainable in its use of energy and materials, and flexible in its use. Architectural studio ZJA produced the design for the new De Koekoek sports hall in collaboration with Archiles Architects in Flanders.

The sports hall offers a home base for various sports clubs, the top volleyball club Tectum Achel and the pupils of the neighbouring primary school. As well as a large sports hall, it includes stands for more than 650 spectators, a cafeteria and a large multifunctional room.

Optimally fitted into a green residential district

De Koekoek is in a green residential district that consists mainly of detached houses. To make its visual impact on its surroundings more pleasant, the architects opted for a building on three levels, of which the ground floor is made of the red bricks characteristic of the area. Between the oak trees, the accent is on the lowest, brick storey, while the light aluminium upper floors, of which the highest is also set back, attract less attention between the branches and against the background of the sky. The whole building has rounded corners and makes a bright and soft impression. At the front is an awning made of steel plates. A curved glass corner and a playful pattern of vertical windows facing onto the extended circulation space along the Koekoeksweg make for a connection between inside and out, and create a safe environment open to an unobstructed view.

Compact and flexible design

The entrance to De Koekoek is between the part with transparent office space and the polyvalent hall. The cafeteria is on the west side, which catches the afternoon sun and has a view of the playing field, and is furthest from the residential buildings.

The sports hall and stands are free of pillars. The rafters, made of GLT (glue laminated timber), allow for a forty-metre wide open sports facility with a height of twelve metres, fulfilling the demands of competitive sports of the highest level. With a high-quality floor of area-elastic parquet, and with a wood-lined rear wall, the wooden structural elements give the sports hall a warm and friendly atmosphere. There are stands that, including their retractable section, can accommodate 750 supporters. This compact design also aims to be flexible. It includes moveable dividing walls between the multifunctional room and the cafeteria.

Energy-saving and sustainable

The new sports facility needed first of all to provide more space and be far more energy efficient. The new De Koekoek is not only optimally insulated and equipped with solar panels on the roof, it also has a ventilation system that both heats and cools the interior with the aid of heat pumps. Warmth is also reclaimed from the waste water from the showers, and the building requires no gas supply.

Because of the extensive use of laminated wood, this design saves on energy-intensive concrete and steel, thereby contributing to sustainability. Furthermore, the GLT binds CO2 and can be disassembled and reused. In the design of the surroundings, attention has been paid to maximal water storage, with the provision of plenty of greenery, porous paving in the car park and bioswales.

Commissioned by: Municipality of Hamont-Achel
Architect: ZJA in collaboration with Archiles Architects
Engineer: Studie10
Year: 2022- present

Project: #1257