In 2017, the Kaaitheater in Brussels was preparing for a new take on its infrastructure. The functional difficulties with the dated buildings, the renewal of its lease contract and the dynamic of change in its direct urban context were approached as an opportunity to rethink infrastructure and institution alike. We elaborated a potential scan, based on a process of exchange with different users. Two design scenarios were developed in spatial and financial terms to research and evaluate alternative directions for the future. Through the scenarios, we investigated different degrees of intervention on existing buildings, technical infrastructure, and logistics. We also revealed different ways how the internal organization could match with the urban integration in the canal zone in general, and more specifically as part of an urban block mutating into a major future cultural center. The scenarios operated in a back and forth between pragmatic considerations and reflections on the role of the theater in facilitating contemporary artistic practice, in link to its context.

The study was later annexed to the competition brief for an architectural competition.

  • Location

    Brussels, Belgium

  • Client

    Kaaitheater/Facilitair Bedrijf

  • Competition


  • In collaboration with


  • 51N4E project team

    Freek Persyn, Sotiria Kornaropoulou, Janik Beckers, Alice Babini, Dieter Leyssen

  • 51N4E involvement

    Feasibility study

  • Construction costs

    € 17'500'000

  • Programme

    extension and refurbishment of a cultural infrastructure, black box, artist's studios, public space, cafè, theater facilities, office space

  • Built surface


  • Image credits