Royal Walloon Opera - BE

Belgium - Liège
A.2R.C, Aa Architectes associés, Origin Architecture
  • Compartmentalization
  • Wall
  • Ceiling

Belgium - Liège

Security, quality, convenience and international charisma… a few standards, which apply to both the renovation and restoration project of the Royal Walloon Opera and Promat International’s Best Insulating Performance.
The project, the challenge… the implementation

The Opéra Royal de Wallonie was created in 1967 but more recently had become fallen into disrepair and renovation was necessary. Through its building department, the city of Liège acted as main contractor for the renovation and restoration of the ORW. The project was managed by the temporary association, formed by the three authors of the project: A.2R.C, Aa Architectes associés and Origin Architecture et Engineering, with the assistance of the Greisch Bgroup Infra, who were responsible for the stability calculations. All of the necessary fire protection calculations, in particular the compartmentalization and structural protection of the complex loadbearing constructions, have been drawn up by the three authors of the project. The technical control bureau for construction SECO was appointed to supervise the project and provide technical advice. The general construction company in charge of this difficult construction project was the temporary association of the companies BAM (Galère Bâtiments), Gilles MOURY and Jean WUST.

In order to be able to put more large-scale productions and other performances on the agenda, the stage and its entire technical installations had to be considerably extended. The new stage is nearly twice as high as the original and continues to overhang the main auditorium by means of a modern platform, which is in unique contrast with the original, renovated part, restoring its ancient splendor. This way, the architectural characteristics of both parts are emphasized. The platform also creates a separate, polyvalent space, offering an interesting view on the city of Liège, which can be used as a rehearsal room or as a reception or exhibition hall.

The capacity of the theatre hasn’t been extended substantially (1044 seats). On the other hand the project guarantees the essential security of this public building. What’s more, the new part is a textbook case in the field of passive fire protection.

A primary challenge among others… the fire protection

The new platform required the use of major solutions in the field of passive fire protection both for the compartmentalization and the protection of the loaded elements of the new part. It wasn’t simple to find the right fire protection solutions due to the fact that the suspended, mainly self-supporting steel structure had been designed according to a special concept, which is intended to relieve the existing building as much as possible. Indeed, the old walls, where the foundations are located in the immediate vicinity of the Meuse, are not able to bear the new heavy and impressive construction.

Calcium silicate based boards have enabled us to offer or elaborate adapted solutions in cooperation with all involved parties and the Prevention Unit of the fire brigade and ISIB at Liège. The solutions are based on the results of an impressive range of fire tests, which have been performed with some of our older products such as PROMATECT®-H and PROMATECT®-L, but also with new boards such as PROMATECT®-100 and even with a board that is still in the development stage.

These tests were conducted according to the needs and specific situation of the project, and were carried out by Promat International’s technical department and based on the indispensable expertise of our worldwide research and development center PRTC (Promat Research and Technology Center). Thanks to regular communications and mutual confidence between all parties, the Promat International team had the opportuinity to add its own ‘act’ to this construction: special solutions tailored to each situation… and we have some special ‘tenors’ at our disposal…

An important part of the project has been completed thanks to good teamwork, which resulted in some unprecedented situations, exceptional solutions based on existing products and a competitive development thanks to a gain of time in matters of execution and maintenance. As a result of the cooperation between the installing company and the contractor, some final technical data sheets have been drawn up, which then have been presented to the authors of the project and the supervising authority.