Culture Complex De Nieuwe Kolk

Assen, NL

How many contradictions can a cultural complex resolve?


De Nieuwe Kolk

The programme of De Nieuwe Kolk, the new cultural centre for Assen, was complex: a theatre, a cinema, a library, a visual arts centre, various commercial spaces, catering facilities, a parking garage with 500 spaces, and 65 apartments. And the location was equally complex: opposite a large shopping centre, next to a traditional small-scale residential area, in lush gardens and along a canal. How to solve this puzzle?

De Pelinckhof enriches Assen with a new, meaningful public space.

De Nieuwe Kolk completes the series of important public facilities on the centre ring.

Small scale / Large scale

Private spaces / Public spaces

High spaces / Low spaces

Public entrances / Logistic entrances

Large building / Poetic detailing

Loud noise / Quiet functions (living, theatre, library)

Closed space (no daylight) / Public space (daylight)


‘An adventurous labyrinth, asking to be discovered’

The building volume follows the contours of the plot. The façade on the centre side recedes at the bend of the Weiersstraat. By increasing the distance between the centre ring road and the façade, a new square, the Pelinckhof, was created. De Nieuwe Kolk will once again be given an address on the Vaart, and the square connects seamlessly with a sequence of characteristic residence and meeting places in the centre of Assen.

Inside, all functions are ingeniously linked to the central Culture Portal. ‘An adventurous labyrinth, waiting to be discovered,’ said the jury of the BNA Prize for the best building of 2013 in the north/east region.

Culture Complex De Nieuwe Kolk

In Assen, the former cultural centre De Kolk has made way for a new cultural complex. To ensure that the new programme, totalling 48,000 m², fits in perfectly, the location on the Vaart was expanded to take in two adjacent buildings and empty lots on Weiersstraat and Alteveerstraat. This created an extremely complex site: opposite a large-scale shopping complex, next to a traditional residential area, bordering a lush garden and along a relentlessly straight canal. The new culture cluster establishes the connection between old and new, between large and small scales, and between functions in and near the new complex.

The public reception and meeting space begins outside, with the imposing overhang at the Pelinckhof. The entrance leads the visitor to an inner square, the Culture Portal, where all functions of the complex converge. By strategically situating the public functions of the individual programmes around this Culture Portal, an impressive space has been created that also gives users the opportunity to forge various programmatic alliances. The abundance of light and the spatial layout make seeing and being seen the leading themes in the Nieuwe Kolk.


Culture Complex De Nieuwe Kolk
Assen, NL
48.560 m²
Gemeente Assen
Culture, mixed-use, Work
Harry Cock, Gerard van Beek
Greiner Van Goor Architecten BV
  • BNA Gebouw van het Jaar
    Regio Noord/Oost
More info