Gebr. De Nobel in Leiden 

In order to strengthen its cultural profile and to make the city centre even more attractive, Leiden city council decided it needed a modern pop venue. Over the years, the city council bought a number of buildings in a block on the 19th century ring around the city centre, between the Lakenhal Museum and the Scheltema culture complex. There were a number of charming houses in the block, but the real pearl was the 19th century, brick factory building on Marktsteeg, unusual for Leiden, originally built for making cement. Ector Hoogstad Architecten were asked to design a pop centre within the area of the block and to make use of as much of the monumental buildings as possible. With some improvisation, the designs resulted in a plan where old and new, atmosphere and functionality, complement each other perfectly.

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The theme of the design, for both the interior and the exterior, is the subtle combination of two opposites: old vs. new on the one hand, and crude vs. fine on the other. The size and scale of the new façades are in harmony with the rhythm of the houses which used to be there. The deep orange colour of the Corten steel used in the new façades matches the tints of the surrounding brickwork. The higher parts of the building are clad in contrasting, mildly shiny stainless steel, providing dynamics in which the parts sometimes forcefully reflect light, and then again become invisible, matching the colour of the sky.

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