Kursaal Casino Knokke-Heist

Kursaal Casino Knokke-Heist

Kursaal Casino Knokke-Heist, Knokke-Heist, Belgium2023

Barozzi Veiga in collaboration with Tab Architects, Barbara Van Der Wee Architects and Mosbach Paysagiste won the competition for the renovation and extension of the Casino Knokke-Heist to be transformed into a new cultural and leisure centre.

The proposal—accommodating an event space, an art hall, a nightclub, a casino, a restaurant and wine bar and a car park—is a confrontation between old and new. The ambition is to restore the overall cohesion of the building and create a coherence with the new additions.
The northern part of the Kursaal, with the glazed façade of the main hall, will be reconstructed according to the qualities of Leon Stynen’s initial design. On the south side, the new extension reinforces the existing architecture with a soft organic design, whose formal language integrates and respects the purity of the north side. The chaotic arrangement on the south side of the existing building is thoughtfully resolved by creating symmetry with the positioning of the art hall as a counterpart to the Magritte Hall. René Magritte’s mural ‘The Enchanted Realm’ becomes the central reference point in the new southern addition, which is also the link volume between the existing building and the new underground extension with the casino scene.
The architecture with its play of metamorphosis, transformation and duplication, the idea of a representation that is not one, reads like the theme of Magritte’s work. The dichotomy between continuity with the existing and the desire for a new identity is translated into a single new volume with a poetic meaning for Knokke-Heist.

The project will be implemented in two phases. The design is such that, on the one hand, the underground casino and the public car park and, on the other, the Kursaal with its leisure and culture programme, can be built in phases one after the other. In this way, the current casino can remain fully operational during the first phase.
The total project comprises 43,000m2 of built-up area with 42,000m2 of surrounding landscaping.

Images by Filippo Bolognese Images; Onirism