CC De Grote Post – a postal building with a new future

Third, altered design (July, 13th 1947)-- City Archives Ostend

Third, altered design (July, 13th 1947)
— City Archives Ostend

In December, 22nd 2012 the city of Ostend opened the new cultural center CC De Grote Post (The Great Post). It is located in a building designed by Gaston Eysselinck, a young modernist architect that only designed one public building.

De Grote Post was constructed in 1953 and was listed as a protected monument in 1981. It took a long time before renovations started. Last week I visited the site. I treated myself to a circus performance so I could also get into one of the auditoriums.

The building is restored by B-Architecten, who did a great job for the Felixarchief and Extra City in Antwerp. Click on “video” on the projectsite and walk around the building.

The auditoriums (both Grote Post and Kleine Post) are very clever constructed and made me feel a bit like being in a cocoon.

CC De Grote Post - auditorium

When I was ready to leave I discovered the most beautiful part of the interior. Above the phone booths, there are beautiful glass windows:

De Grote Post | Entrance

Just look more closely and you can discover this mermaid for example:

De Grote Post | Glass windows

At the opening weekend the crew of Cobra made this nice feature (in dutch, but you almost feel right in the building).

If you want to know all about the building, visit these sites (both in Dutch):

And was I impressed? To be honest: no. I’m sure it all looked wonderful during the opening weekend and when the camera crews came to visit. But a few months later, it looked like a construction site where the workers just had left. The concrete stairs were covered with dust, some even a bit loose. Maybe it was because the sun was hiding behind the clouds? Or maybe my expectations were set to high?

What I do know is that the site has potential, it must be great to watch a movie under the moonlit sky while seated at the courtyard. I can imagine going to an evening performance and entering the ticket hall filled with light and people all buzzing about and anxious to be dazzled. I only hope that the city of Ostend is willing to invest in it so it can become more than it’s architect ever imagined.

Street address
Hendrik Serruyslaan 18 a
8400 Oostende (Belgium)