transformation of Piet Blom's Bastille into students activity center
The Bastille on the campus of the University of Twente, originally designed by architect Piet Blom, is a typical example of the 60s structuralism. The building consisted of a closed facade and a labyrinth of rooms with scarce daylight. As part of the new campus masterplan by Jan Hoogstad, Mei redeveloped and extended the building.
Two new prominent entrances of glass open the building on both sides. These entrances are connected by a central atrium that also functions as a music stage for about 1000 persons. Many rooms got daylight and now function as offices for student organizations and administration. Areas without daylight are intended as places to meet. With these interventions the Bastille has again become the thriving city Piet Blom had in mind when he designed the Building.
The layout of the building had to be thoroughly revised to fit in all functions and to create a clear and safe circulation area. Nevertheless, efforts have been made to preserve as much as possible of the original structuralist elements and atmosphere.
The structure of columns and beams remains as an iconic element in the interior. The speakers corner, a typical structuralist ‘public square’ within the building was unfortunately too dark to maintain. Therefor a contemporary interpretation is created in the atrium. The atrium provides the surrounding areas in light and air and creates a visual relationship between the different floorlevels within the building. Wooden folding walls around the atrium can change the hall into a locked room for various events, such as student parties and concerts.