With the approval of the Brown Coal Plan Garzweiler II, the decision was reached to relocate five villages in the predominately rural surroundings of the town of Erkelenz. A new home was to be found in the recently created locality of Erkelenz-North for about 1.500 persons affected by the move. The town plans to construct a community building with a multi-purpose hall in the centre of this locality, which does justice to the needs of the expanded village communities and supports them in keeping together.

In order to bring together the old and the new home in the planned community centre, Michels Architektenbüro designed a building which both links up with the past and stands for the new. The symbol of the barn served as inspiration in this. This stands for their rural origins and agricultural tradition, offering plenty of space, open rooms and a communal, protective roof, for a variety of uses. The large gate creates a welcoming impression and the free-standing form matches the open construction style that features throughout the new settlement area.

The competition design transforms the idea of the barn into a modern community building that reinforces a sense of identity, creating a sculpturally conceived, striking building that underlines the special significance of the location. Varied placing of the openings offering a range of views from without, within and through the edifice, all lending the building the required lightness, as well as views of the building both diverse and interesting.

The main entrance opens up as a large gate northward towards the village square and the church community centre. A roofed-over front area offers space for two ‘memory sites’, which are found as niches to the left and right of the entrance.
Room-height glazing ensures plenty of daylight in the multi-purpose room and creates a direct link to the exterior space. While during the day the surroundings become a familiar setting for events in the hall, at night this radiates outwards.