The Glass Centre, Flemish Centre for Modern Art, has been constructed along the length of the “De Vryheyt” passage, right in the heart of the town of Lommel. On “Dorp” square it completes the cultural ensemble for- med by the Arts house and the regional tourist Centre. The nature of the project required to design a glass building, and it has been designed in such a way that the space it provides blends in seamlessly with the art it displays and produces, forming a unified whole. Furthermore, the structure emphasizes the Glass Centre’s multifunctionality. The building’s architecture adapts to this multifunctionality, using glass in varied and innovative ways.
The Glass Centre is composed of two interconnected glass areas that interact with each other: first, there is a parallelepiped composed of a stainless-steel frame covered with an ultra-clear glass curtain wall; second, there is a glass cone made up of triangles, which clearly identifies the building as the Glass Centre. The roof is the fifth facade and will receive a special treatment in the future. The range of colors used for the finished interior decor includes only white, black and a range of pure greys, composed exclusively of white and black pigments. The luminous street level floor attracts visitors’ attention and entices them into the Glass Centre. This area overlooks the exhibition hall situated in the lower level, the access to the cone and the two-storey glass kiln. As a result, visitors are naturally drawn to the lower level. The lower level, which benefits from little natural light, is particularly well adapted to exhibiting art works made from glass. The exhibition area has a direct link to the workshop: it is separated only by large glass panels, enabling visitors to follow the manufacturing process whilst remaining at a safe distance. A semi-closed mezzanine offers an enticing view of the cone and the exhibition area on street level.
The glass cone, which is 8 m in diameter, reaches a height of 30 m, dominating the other buildings in the town centre. It is clearly visible from all directions, but it is not an imposing presence in the urban landscape thanks to its filigree structure and the ultra-clear cove- ring that makes it almost transparent. At night, however the cone stands out as a real landmark thanks to a sea of electroluminescent diodes, as well as its illuminated point. Its point, which is made of perforated steel plate, is lit from the inside by a projector that shines upwards. The electroluminescent diodes that light up the structure in varying patterns are attached to the joints of the frames. They snake around the walls and come to a point at the top, constantly changing the building’s visual impact.