The Frans Masereel Centrum is a centre for contemporary art, combining an artist-oriented exhibition and production schedule with an international residency program for artists and curators.
In Spring 2019, the Frans Masereel Centrum opened a new wing, designed by Hideyuki Nakayama, in collaboration with Ido Avissar from the Paris architecture practice LIST. The new venue hosts the current collection archive and the digital studio. The new one-level pavilion, shaped like a cone with six protruding triangles, is linked to the existing building through a passageway looking out at the rural landscape.
The Franz Masereel Centre roof structure is based on a centuries-old structural typology called Reciprocal Frame. Known for spanning over great distances with limited-length-timber-elements, this typology is generated by mutually self-supporting elements placed on a specific geometrical adjustment, and mainly developed through simple repetitive patterns. Here, it has been adapted on an extruded truncated cone, offering a unique space, spreading through intimate rooms with various perspectives, giving no specific directions and evolving through space. This project is the opportunity to experiment with the possibilities and limits of new technologies in the development of a millenary structural typology.
During the whole design process, different stakes – from the architectural orientations to the structural behaviour- have been applied as various parameters of varying geometrical optimizations and it has been the opportunity to study a large panel of reciprocal frame possibilities.
The walls, made of a reinforced concrete framework and sand-lime blocks, vary in height from 2.3 to 5.9 m and support a conical wooden roof with a radius of 14.5 m. The roof is formed by around 1,000 wooden reciprocal beams of 8 cm x 23 cm and a maximum length of 6 m. The combination of inward-slanting walls and a self-supporting roof creates a free plan.