Transforming an old factory building into a community centre and party venue in Sint-Amands

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The Flemish municipality of Sint-Amands was once best known for its shoe factory but then that closed in 2011. The council soon undertook to redevelop the site.

The large industrial building, offices and adjacent land were purchased. The inhabitants and local associations were consulted on possible uses for the location and, most importantly, on how to give it a new and sustainable future.

The old shoe factory was transformed into a unique and sustainable multifunctional community centre where local residents and local associations can feel at home. It's now called "de Nestel" (or "shoe lacing", in English), a name which refers to both the site's heyday and to the idea of connecting people and bringing associations together. You can also "nestle" into this new, open and multipurpose community centre.

Photo provided by Cedral, photographer Marvel Van Coile.

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Today, GC De Nestel has a multipurpose event hall for approximately 900 guests, a theatre with over 200 seats, a professional kitchen, a cafeteria, meeting rooms and an event square and meadow. Engineer-architect Bruno Callaert was in charge of the transformation during which the following was taken into account:

  • sustainability: insulation, heating and accessibility (flat floor stage, lowered counters for people with disabilities, installation of a charging point for electric bicycles, etc.)
  • staying on good terms with the neighbours by thoroughly soundproofing the building
  • reducing energy consumption by equipping the building with a ventilation system which recovers about 90% of the heat, thick insulation, LED lights and TPO foil on the roof.