De Nieuwe Nor is a special institution with a remarkable history, an impressive list of activities for a very varied visitor scene and an exceptionally active club of volunteers. The stage forms the basis for the development and dissemination of musical talent in the Pinkpop region and makes its mark on the city’s culture. The expansion with a large hall, which has increased the existing capacity from 350 to 1200 concert guests, is part of a convincing vision for the future. An exceptional task with which we associate past, present and future.
The location of the extension has a rich history. The spatial structure of the street dates from the Middle Ages and follows the course of the former city grave. The existing building of Nieuwe Nor, a former hardware store and construction workshop, is richly decorated and dates from the heyday of the mining industry. Two adjoining buildings have been demolished to make way for the expansion of the pop stage with a new hall and associated facilities.
The city center of Heerlen is under development. Historic and raw places alternate. This makes room for a new consciousness, but at the same time challenges experimentation and contemporary experience. De Nieuwe Nor is almost at the intersection of two very important urban development structures for this development. A series of intimate squares form a spatial sequence from north to south. An Urban Catwalk connects the center from east to west.
In the center of Heerlen, the decoration of special public buildings serves as an extension of the public space. The Pancratius Church, the Glass Palace and the Savelberg Monastery are special national monuments in the area. The spaciousness of the interior and the public accessibility make these buildings part of the city’s collective memory. With the expansion of Nieuwe Nor we are adding a building.
The facade as a mobile phenomenon
The emergence of Nieuwe Nor is a primary experience that sharpens your senses and makes room for the collective experience, both inside and out. A powerful and open-mouthed city sculpture is a strong facade, which at the same time has the ability to react like a living organism to its environment and shows respect for the rich past. A mobile phenomenon that also makes sense to the place regardless of the activity inside.
The architecture is capable of destroying itself as a venue when there is no show going on. At the same time, it is an attraction in the city if there is anything fun to do inside. Architecture that inspires and facilitates the neighborhood during the day, but comes alive for the music at night. The curiosity of the passers-by is then aroused by the mysterious sight inside. At the same time, the type of music that can be heard inside can be read from the facade: raw, untraditional, dark, rhythmic, exciting and timeless. A building for this subculture must convey that everything can take a beating.
The perfect machine
The new main entrance not only connects the old and the new building, but also directs the clear guidance through the building to both the premises and the café. The building is designed in such a way that visitors find their way naturally. Via stairs, the concert guests reach the various foyer areas in front of the main hall and the two balconies in a flowing line. A strategically located elevator also serves all floor levels.
Behind the scenes, each performance starts with logistics. When a band has finally arrived at its destination after a tiring bus journey, it’s all about efficiency and effectiveness. The areas are arranged so that the objects from the bus are quickly and easily ready for use on stage. The truck is safe, dry and protected during loading and unloading. The changing rooms are well equipped and have a good spatial relationship with the stage.
A cultural ceremony
The core of the task is, of course, human contact. The interaction between the audience itself and between the audience and the band is what it’s all about on a pop scene. These rituals are optimally facilitated and encouraged in the new building. A concert in Nieuwe Nor is a ceremony where people meet to show, create, maintain and celebrate their common worlds and culture.
Therefore, the lines of sight on stage have been optimized in the hall. The core of a concert is always to experience it. This principle also applies to musicians and crew. A moving audience has a positive impact on the band’s performance. Our design for the main hall fully confirms the interplay. For an optimal experience and to enjoy intensely, the space is therefore wide and not deep. This is very beneficial for the acoustics and the audience is very close to the artist (s) or DJ. An intimate quality that separates the space. The large balconies run along both side and back walls throughout the hall. With the help of small elevations, a beautiful set-up can also be made here for a seated audience with a perfect view of the stage.