You will undoubtedly have already noticed. The de Hoge Rielen is constantly evolving.
We continue to systematically build a better domain. In this way, we continue to ‘create space for accommodation, adventure and tranquillity’. That is our mission.
Further development of the domain takes place according to the master plan, which remains true to the long-term vision of a relationship with the past and with the entire domain. All without discounting the architecture or nature.
In 1974 the Ministry of National Education and Dutch Culture bought the former British military domain of 230 hectares in Lichtaart. Between 1976 and 1990, 17 former ammunition sheds, scattered throughout the domain, were converted into accommodation buildings for young people. There was no global plan of action. Each building was realised separately without taking into account any connection with the remainder of the domain or the history of the domain.
Masterplan – Studio Secchi & Viganò (2004)
Since 2004, structural alterations and renovations on the de Hoge Rielen domain have not been dealt with on an ad hoc basis. They have been implemented according to the concept of the master plan.
A long-term vision was drawn up by the Italian Studio Secchi & Viganò. The master plan took into account the historical, ecological and educational value of the domain. Within the domain, three landscapes were defined: the military, the natural and the educational landscape. The master plan incorporates these landscapes in relation to each other and provides concepts and tools for their development.
The master plan is based on the following important pillars:
- Respect for the original military character of the domain: old military sheds are being restored so their architecture retains a link to the past
- The introduction of ‘shed camping’
- A forest management plan leading to more varied forests and biotopes
- Restoration of the central road as the main connecting road for cyclists and pedestrians
- The construction of a hostel with unique architecture: 20 rooms with a view of nature
Reception building - Erik Wieërs (2002)
You will feel immediately welcome upon entering the reception square of the de Hoge Rielen!
In 2002, the construction of a new reception building was begun. It marked the start of a master plan for the entire domain (2004). Inspired by the architecture, shape and material of the military sheds on the domain, the reception building was designed as an imposing maxi-shed, providing open space to receive groups.
In 2000, architect Erik Wieërs of Huiswerk Architecten (now Collectief Noord) won the first Open Call competition in Flanders to design this building.
Sheds (2008 – 2010)
Camp 17 - Spade (Shovel) and Building 22 - AGO Architects
Camp 15 - Lamp, Building 18, Building 36 and Building 50 - Puls Architects
Camp 10 - Gitaar (Guitar) - Teema Architects
Seven old storage sheds (1955) used for British Army ammunition were renewed and restored to their original form, with functionality defining the form. The only addition is two bright red emergency doors. The renovated sheds are mainly used as a play or sleeping area near camp grounds. Building 36 has been converted into a skating shed.
Shed camping – Teema Architecten (2011)
What if not everyone in your group likes camping outside?
TEEMA Architects came up with an attractive alternative: a camp ground combined with an ingeniously converted shed. For their design, they drew inspiration from the surroundings and realised a ‘building-in-a-building’. You sleep inside in a heated sleeping area, you have a simple kitchen and you can warm yourself at the fireplace with a cosy fire.
Hostel Wadi – Architectural firm Secchi & Viganò (2013)
Would you like to experience a stay with all the creature comforts yet still feel in the middle of nature?
It is possible in the Wadi Hostel! Studio Secchi & Viganò designed a building that embraces the forest, as it were, and is inconspicuously integrated into the landscape. Thanks to its unique architecture, the building blends in completely with the surrounding greenery. Due to its transparency, visitors always have direct visual contact with nature. Book a room for four people in this cylindrical hostel and let yourself be enchanted by the beautiful architecture, integrated with nature.
Public outdoor space – Studio Secchi & Viganò (2017)
The Flemish government has invested in the construction of public spaces for children and young people. An outdoor theatre, a picnic zone and a path that connects Wadi Hostel to the picnic area and the outdoor theatre (northwest connection) were all built, for example.
The outdoor theatre can be used for concerts, lectures, receptions or as a playful meeting place.
A picnic area has been created next to the restaurant, where guests and visitors can relax during their trip to the domain.
The public outdoor spaces, such as, the footpath and picnic area have been created within green areas to further emphasise the car-free character and provide an intuitive way to find your way.
Camp tower - Import.Export Architecture (2019)
Looking for a unique place to camp?
The camp tower is the result of an experimental research and design process into new, temporary forms of camping. The stacked camp construction was designed by Import.Export Architecture (IEA) from Antwerp, and has now found a home on the de Hoge Rielen domain.
Four camp platforms are held aloft in the air like treehouses by steel columns. The staggered positions in this special camping architecture offer different views and experiences.
Building 11 – Kajak (Kayak) and Building 14 – Knoop (Knot) – AGO Architecture (2019)
The architectural firm AGO has colourfully decorated these buildings. There is a flexible sleeping area with 30 beds and a sleeping loft for 14 people. You can also wake up outside in the middle of nature, in the sleeping boxes which provide 12 extra beds.
Current construction projects
Theatre – Building 39 - Kompas (Compass) – Building 27 – Building 30 – Fire pit B – dmvA Architects
When you drive along the central road and the approach roads in the southern part of the domain, you will notice that construction work is in full swing. The works are a part of the implementation of the master plan for the de Hoge Rielen.
Building 27, the starting location of the climbing forest, and Building 30, the shed at Camp 30, will be completely renovated and stripped of asbestos.
Building 39 - Kompas (Compass) will be completely demolished and replaced by a new building. The architecture of the military base structure will remain recognisable from the outside. Inside, it will be transformed into a contemporary residence, where smaller groups will feel at home.
The Theatre will be completely stripped, modernised and expanded so that it fits in seamlessly with the architecture of the adjacent outdoor theatre.
Through landscaping, the large fire pit B will be redesigned as an amphitheatre with more than 200 seats.
dmvA Architecten made the designs and monitors the construction works.