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Cultural Park Castellum Hoge Woerd

  • Cultural Park
  • Cultural Park
  • Cultural Park
  • Cultural Park
  • Cultural Park

The design for Castellum Hoge Woerd, the cultural park, is based on a architectural and landscape interpretation of an ancient Roman Castellum (fort), and represents an important, and unique, cultural heritage site in the Netherlands.

The project, developed by the Dutch SKETS Architectuurstudio, includes a theatre, restaurant, museum, environmental/sustainability centre, courtyard for events and an outdoor area used for community programs.

The Lower Germanic Limes, once the border of the Roman Empire, is an archaeological line that stretches along the Rhine between Finxbach, in Rhineland-Palatinate, and the mouth of the Old Rhine at Katwijk. The Lower Germanic Limes are part of the European Limes: an elongated collection of archaeological sites running from the Antonine Wall in Scotland to the Black Sea in Romania, which once formed a single coherent military system. The Limes are also known as the largest archaeological monument of Europe.

Deviation from a traditional Castellum can be found in the added pavilion building. The reason for this addition lies in the desire to find a space for the Meern 1, a completely intact two-thousand-year-old Roman ship, found and excavated during the development of the Leidsche Rijn. The pavilion is also the best solution to provide a modern auditorium for 250 visitors. The pavilion building cuts through the walls of the Castellum and represents the only element that crosses the fort and also provides a view to the courtyard. The facades of the pavilion consist of patterned aluminium panels, making reference to the history of the place.

Inside the pavilion, functions are combined: the foyer of the theatre merges with the restaurant and provides an exhibition space for the Roman ship. The ship lies on top of glass sheets and around it people can read about its history. The white PVC ceiling diffuses the light in a sweet and homogeneous way, onto the whole exhibition space.

Almost the entire complex is built on sand, without a pile foundation, with the exception of the theatre on the first floor of the pavilion. Here four clusters of foundation piles are used, thus giving the pavilion a hybrid foundation.

Architects | SKETS Architectuurstudio, Amsterdam, The Netherlands 
Location | Utrecht, The Netherlands
Technical info | Barrisol PVC Ceiling
Picture credits | Sven Eric Panjer, John Lewin Marshall