Keywords Change this

Modernism, Concrete

Project timeline

1964 – 1987


Culture & Entertainment

Location Change this

Desguinlei 25
2018 Antwerpen

Architect Change this


Article last edited by Bostjan on
March 08th, 2020

DeSingle Change this

Antwerpen, Belgium
by Léon Stynen Change this
1 of 9

Description Change this

DeSingle is Antwerp's major cultural campus, housing the Royal Conservatoire Antwerp, the Flemish Architecture Institute, various music and theatre groups, radio station Radio Two, a cafe, an auditorium, theatres and performance spaces, and galleries.

The building, with its complex internal layout, took more than three decades to realise. It was built in stages, then repeatedly expanded and reorganised by Stynen and his successors, with elements of the building reflecting the architect's progress through the latter years of his career. It remains one of his most important buildings.

Construction Phases

In 1958, Flor Peeters is then director of the conservatory, the Ministry of Public Works commissioned architect Léon Stynen to design a large complex. The first stone was laid in 1964. The first phase of the new Royal Conservatory opened in 1968: a pavilion as an open-ended eight with rooms that look out onto two inner gardens. The second construction phase with the concert hall, theater hall and library, has to wait due to lack of money, among other things. The works resumed in 1973, after Andries Kinsbergen , the governor of the province of Antwerp, proposed to also house the BRT 2 Omroep Antwerpen in the complex.

Opening Cultural Center deSingel

The rooms are officially opened on November 4, 1980 in the presence of King Baudouin and Queen Fabiola. In those halls, conservatory students, future musicians and actors can gain stage experience and see professionals at work. But the size and cultural potential of the infrastructure far exceeds the possibilities of the conservatory. That is why on 1 December 1979 conservatory director Eugène Traey hires Frie Leysen to prepare for the opening of the hall complex

Thus phase two of Stynens building plans is completed. The Conservatory was expanded with a section for Radio 2 Antwerp, two large halls and a library tower. The extension closes the eight-shape with a medium-high rise and gives deSingel a recognizable face to the traffic routes that have since been laid around the building.

In 1987 the building is again being expanded, following the design of Stynen and his assistant Paul De Meyer , with extra space for the Conservatory and a small public foyer for deSingel.

Reorganization and expansion

In 1995 Stéphane Beel is instructed to draw up a master plan for the reorganization and expansion of deSingel and the Conservatory. His proposal must formulate solutions that meet the development and ambition of the art campus. Phase one of the master plan has been realized in 2000. It meets the highest needs: the building will have an additional circulation axis and additional artist watches, the stage of the Red Hall will be larger, and there will be more space and daylight in the artist foyer. In 2002 minister of Culture Bert Anciaux instructs Stéphane Beel to realize the second phase of the project. Antwerp University College joins. The final design takes shape.



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