Heerlen’s Royal and Rivoli film theatres are local monuments and are part of the collective memory of the region’s inhabitants. The complex, located at the heart of the town centre, is both iconic and rich with potential for renewal. What is the client hoping for? An open, vibrant, and creative hotspot for the cultural and creative sector in the Euregion – one that respects the individuality and history of the building. Diederendirrix has worked with Architectenzaak to compile a vision document for a new film theatre that puts this front and centre.

Back to the masterpiece

The architect of the impressive Royal and Rivoli, Frits Peutz (1896-1974), was a visionary and skilled technical designer. His qualities in terms of space and use of materials still come through today. That’s why we opted to demolish part of one building (Maxim) so that Royal and Rivoli could appear in their former glory once again. The space that the demolition freed up acts as a contemporary and appealing entrance area, linking the Royal and Rivoli together. This renewed ‘alliance’ gives users an opportunity to experience the quality of Peutz’s work in every dimension. At the same time, the new complex offers every opportunity for a vibrant film theatre, where everything is about film and the production process that comes with it.


Historic situation

The ‘in between’ as a theatrical spectacle

The transparent, connecting new-build occupies a prominent position at the sightline of the main entrance from the station and gives users an inviting welcome to Heerlen. The café and theatres are clearly visible from the outside. The stairs and the upper floors form a piece of connecting furniture between Royal and Rivoli, and thus the monumental façade of Royal and the activities of the new film theatre enjoy maximum attention. The façade acts as a large window that strengthens the relationship between the life and vibrancy on the inside and the city on the outside. It frames the activities like a film scene to the surrounding environment. Looked at the other way around, users inside are very much part of the urban life on the outside. In fine weather, the façade can be opened up to the restaurant, making the terrace in Zuidplein square part of the lively interior.



The monumental main entrance of Royal remains the main entrance to the overall ensemble, which made fitting a new lift at the entrance particularly important. On the ground floor and floor above, we’ve created a broad, functional, and spacious connection with the new programme. All of the complex’s public functions can be accessed by – and are connected by – a lift.


Range of options for use and operations

The blending of old and new – and the efficient and logical position of user areas – creates a sense of spatial unity. Within this, there are numerous options for connection. Parts can be entirely self-sufficient, but can also support one another. ‘Large and spacious’ for an international festival, ‘exclusive’ for a presentation in Royal, or simply ‘intimate’ on a mid-week visit to the film theatre.

A lively city hub

The new city hub serves to open up both the past and the present and offers a wide range of options for future use, ensured in no small part by the flexibility offered by workplaces and work spaces. The open and lively new-build and renovated façades give the complex allure. Accomplishing this attractive hotspot has given these Heerlen icons a promising sustainable future.

Project details

  • Start date
  • September 2021
  • End date
  • September 2021
  • Client
  • Gemeente Heerlen
  • Dimensions
  • 2.450
  • Project partner(s)
  • De ArchitektenzaakPeutz Architecten
  • Details
  • Ontwerpcompetitie; 2e prijs

Want to know more about this project?

Rob Meurders

Creative director/ Partner

+31 40 20 05 301E-mail