Performing Arts Center STUK

The existing Arenberg Institute was composed of interconnected buildings around a central courtyard, at a steep slope between two streets. For STUK, two of the least useable wings were replaced by a new structure in order to create the technically complex performance halls. All public rooms open up to an intimate central courtyard that functions as the heart of  STUK. A system of outdoor areas diagonally crosses the complex and creates a semi-public route from one street to the other.

Unlike the unambiguous and sober use of materials in the exterior, the interiors of  STUK are diverse and exuberant. Each performance hall has a strong character, with padded black leather clad walls, corroted steel blade walls or crates of unplaned wood. An Alice in Wonderland complex arises, where behind every door a new, mysterious world unfolds. The oiled concrete walls of the large performance hall are carried out with a zigzag pattern that resembles the draped theatre curtains. The stage of the performance hall looks out on the courtyard through a large window and becomes a projection screen or stage for the entire complex, connected with the outdoor area of improvised stages and stairs. The city in the city as a theatre comes to life again.

Project data


Naamsestraat 96, Leuven, Belgium


2 theatres for dance and drama, ensemble theatres, movie theatre, dance studio, music studios, workshops, exhibition space, café-restaurant, offices

Surface Area

10.000 m2

Year Of Completion



Best building of the year - Award of the City of Leuven


Architectural Design
Neutelings Riedijk Architects
Architectural Engineering
Bureau Bouwtechniek, Jan Moens, Nadja van Houten (project support)
Building Physics
Daidalos Bouwfysisch Ingenieursbureau
STUK Arts Center
Main Contractor
Van Hout
Roelandts & Rys bvba, Theater Technieken Advies en Studie
Sarah Blee / Scagliola Brakkee
Structural Engineer
Ir. Dirk Jaspeart