Between nature and culture – Academy for Music, Word and Dance Dilbeek

Location is key. The Academy for Music, Word and Dance designed by architect Carlos Arroyo is located in a suburban neighborhood in Dilbeek, just outside Brussels. Positioned in a difficult context with a variety of contrasting situations: to the south, the main square with the City Hall and local restaurants; west, CC Westrand, with its monumental volumes designed by Alfons Hoppenbrouwers at the height of Brutalism; north, Wolfsputten, a protected area of natural forest; and east, a compact group of suburban villas with pitched roofs following the archetypal image of the “fermette”.


In the final design, these different forces were externalized, reinforcing the delicate balance between man and nature. eld, as technical specialist, helped to translate this vivid play into the optical effect of the kinetic façade architecture. From certain angles, the building expresses the colors of an artwork of Hoppenbrouwers in the neighboring CC, while appearing camouflaged amongst the surrounding trees from other angles. A system of louvres was added to the façade so that, like a lenticular image, the appearance differs depending on the viewing angle. To reference the nearby houses, the massing of the building is broken up into an irregular series of gables.

Challenge & solutions

Functionally, the technical aspects regarding the acoustics were crucial to eld. The entrance is located beneath a chunky cantilever that contains the main auditorium and theatre, while studios, practice rooms and classrooms are spread across two floors at the other end of the building. Both operate together during the day and the evening while maintaining their independence. It was our job to mediate between the aesthetic demands of the architect and the budget of the city of Dilbeek. After this project and successful teamwork in Dilbeek, a second project with Carlos Arroyo was initiated: Oostcampus, including the city hall and civic center in Oostkamp.

Role eld
  • co-architecture
  • cost engineering & qs
  • project & construction management
  • Dilbeek City Council
Building type
Concept architect
  • Carlos Arroyo Architects (ES)
  • 2.911m²
  • completed