June 2015 Recently Ector Hoogstad Architecten participated in a competition for Het Nieuwe Speelhuis in Helmond. Through a devastating fire in 2011, the characteristic Speelhuis from Piet Blom (1977) was lost. Because of this the monumental OLV Church received a second life as theater, first temporarily and now final. It was a wonderful challenge to make a state of the art theater of this neo-Byzantine church, with beautiful public spaces and support rooms. We made two proposals; both ad new qualities to the entire complex. With this submission Ector Hoogstad Architecten became the runner up.
In the first proposal, the church is part of the surrounding buildings. A transparent volume connects the existing expedition and public access. This transparent component embraces the church and functions as an ambulatory around a new 'convent garden'. The second proposal shows an ensemble of the church and the old parsonage, completely free, as a beautiful jewel in a park. The additional program of foyers, break-out rooms and dressing rooms are located underground along a corridor next to the foundations of the church. This corridor has a glass roof, which provides a beautiful gaze upward along the imposing walls and towers of the church.