Carlos Arroyo - Academie MWD Dilbeek

From certain angles this performance center in Belgium has a colourful stripey facade, but from others it appears camouflaged amongst the surrounding trees. Designed by Spanish architect Carlos Arroyo, the Academie MWD is a school of music, theater and dance at the Westrand Cultural Center, which is located within a suburban neighbourhood in Dilbeek, outside Brussels.

The architect wanted to come up with a design that mediated between the Westrand building to the west, gabled houses to the east and woodland to the north. "The question was how to harmonize the different situations, and at the same time produce a building with a quality of its own," he says. Arroyo added a system of louvers to the façade so that, like a lenticular image, the appearance differs depending on the viewing angle.

When facing north-east visitors see a life-size image of trees but when facing south-west they see a mixture of blues and greys that capture the colours of the adjacent building, designed in the 1960s by Belgian architect and painter Alfons Hoppenbrouwers.

Viewing the building straight-on reveals yet another image; a spectrum of colourful stripes and rectangles that are derived from one of Hoppenbrouwers' paintings, while the rear of the building is clad in a similar variation of metal panels with contrasting finishes.

To reference the nearby houses, the massing of the building is broken up into an irregular series of gables. "The new building is a soft transition between the scale of the houses and the imposing presence of CC Westrand," says Arroyo.

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.

ImagenSubliminal (Vimeo)