Francesca Torzo
Hasselt, Belgium

Brick plays a central role in Z33, the extension of a contemporary art museum in the Beguinage of Hasselt.

Z33  - 00 fromstreetfar 31
© Photos: Gion Balthasar von Albertini

In the Beguinage of Hasselt, a historic complex surrounding a large garden, we find Z33, a venue for contemporary art exhibitions. The facades of the complex form a continuous architectural barrier where brick reigns supreme. The different patterns presented by the blocks constitutes a declaration of intent on the material’s protagonism. In a graduation of privacy between exterior and interior, the prime objective of the wall’s design is to create a resting space that separates the visitor from the rest of the city. Z33 comprises two constructions: a museum built in 1958 and an extension. The annex responds to its immediate surroundings by closing itself towards the street and opening out to the park through a niche, in what is an approach to 18th-century architectural tradition.

Like the original museum, the new space has two public levels and a bottom floor interspersed between the level of the exhibitions and those of the street and garden. The interior layout shows rooms varying in dimensions and in the treatment of light, providing different experiences that set a parallelism with the plurality of city life. Thresholds between rooms become the organizer of the overall space, insinuating through their scales and abstract forms the circulation route and the public or domestic nature of each one of them. Brick is the project’s main unit of measurement. There are 34,494 rhomboidal units in all, handmade, and the brickwork combines traditional masonry with a bid for innovative patterns.

Z33  - 01 Z33 drawing site plan 1.750 A3 33
Z33  - 2 facade entrance street 35
Z33  - 3  Z33 patio and fountain 37
Z33  - 4.1  Z33 welcome towards patio 39
Z33  - 4.2  Z33 patio tree entrance night 41
Z33  - 5  Z33 welcome 43
Z33  - 6  Z33 vestibule towards fountain 45
Z33  - 7.1  Z33 vestibule and fountain 47
Z33  - 7.2  Z33 vestibule fountain front 49
Z33  - 8 Z33 fountain entrance patio 51
Z33  - 9.1 Z33 entrance patio detail 3 53
Z33  - 9.2  garden facade detail 4 55
Z33  - 10 Z33 street facade detail 1 57
Z33  - 11.2 Z33 drawing plan niv.0.5 1.300 A3 no section lines 59
Z33  - 11.1 Z33 drawing plan niv.0 1.300 A3 no section lines 61
Z33  - 11.3 Z33 drawing plan niv.1 1.300 A3no section lines 63

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