Architectura: Outer shell of theatre and library tower deSingel restored by Bureau Bouwtechniek

The theatre and library tower of Antwerp's deSingel arts campus, one of Léon Stynen's major achievements, has just been renovated. Bureau Bouwtechniek repaired the damage to the concrete skin, renovated the roof and carried out the building physics study on the energetic improvement of the outer skin
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The theatre and library tower forms part of the second phase of the arts campus (1963-1980) and is executed in a brutalist concrete architecture, designed by the equally iconic Léon Stynen.

The renovation concept relies on preserving the building's brutalist detailing combined with an energetic improvement. Cold bridges and other points of concern were identified and structural solutions efficiently worked out without compromising valuable architectural detailing. For example, cellular glass insulation with cementation on the walls was not only retained, but also supplemented where possible to improve the building's energy performance and robustness.

During the renovation, the concrete facade of approx. 6800 m2 was repaired and given a new protective coating. In the process, special attention was paid to technical performance with an eye to preserving the brutalist detailing of the balustrades, the steel joinery, the original colour scheme, detailing of eaves and the use of the roof as an architectural space.


The thermal performance and risks of physical damage to the building envelope and building nodes were assessed by thermography and calculated with TRISCO, a specialised software that uses dynamic models to focus on the temperature curve and risks of condensation in detail and proposes targeted solutions.

Multidisciplinary team

The renovation of the outer shell of the theatre and library towers required explicit disciplines such as restoration, building physics, structural engineering and safety coordination. For this assignment, Bureau Bouwtechniek called on an in-house multidisciplinary team that could guarantee the necessary complementary technical expertise.

"Through targeted interventions, we extend the life of the building and prepare the arts campus for the next period of use. Being able to work together as a team to perpetuate the iconic building and its use gave us particular satisfaction," says Bureau Bouwtechniek.