Getting buildings to make sense when in context with what already exists around them can be a tough nut to crack. Cities that embrace innovative architecture are visually more interesting, but can be a little chaotic. Carlos Arroyo has risen to the challenge of creating a building that works in its surroundings from all angles.

The Academie MWD is an arts center situated in Dilbeek, Brussels. It provides education in music, theater and dance. The site is faced with a forest to the north, suburbia to the east, a shopping and entertainment area to the south, and the Brutalist CC Westrand concert hall by Alfons Hoppenbrouwers to the west. The disparate nature of these areas predetermined the different façade of the MWD. Arroyo used scale; vertical steel ridges and color to bring the area together. The roof of the building is steeped in a number of places, reflecting the houses to the east. The verticle ridges on the eastern façade are painted different colors. When approaching from one angle, they appear blue and white in homage to Hoppenbrouwers. Facing this side, they are brightly colored in reds, oranges, yellows and greens. When going towards the forest, visitors can see images of the forest printed on the bands, making the building disappear. The ridges also regulate the amount of sunlight entering the building. Quite a lot of work for simple ridges. Inside the walls have been painted white to maximize light.

The star of this design is certainly the painted steel ridges. This idea could easily have looked a mess, but the sensitive execution makes the building fit in from all angles.

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