dmvA's addition to a historic site in belgium features brickwork with 'weeping mortar'

dmvA's addition to a historic site in belgium features brickwork with 'weeping mortar'

dmvA architecten completes ‘site apostolinnen,’ a project comprising a new building intervention, renovation, and restoration in belgium. the site dates back to the middle ages when it consisted of several houses with different owners. in the beginning of the 17th century, the site became more cohesive, as different lots were bought together. during the 20th century, the site hosted a convent which had since been transformed into a plot on which nothing of its original history could be found. a driving factor in the expressive brickwork design was the respect and recovery of the historical elements.

dmvA site apostolinnen
all images by bart gosselin



dmvA architecten began the project with the subdivision of the site into a collection of housing units, at the center of which is the 17th century ‘somerhuys’ (summer house), the first to be restored. according to archaeological research, the somerhuys was heated only by solar gain with southern facing windows. the house has been restored and is now used as a private home. as an extension of this central building, the 20th century worker’s house is situated at the tessestraat. this building is now a guest house in the private garden of the somerhuys. in order to introduce circulation without disrupting the original organization, a contemporary black stair ascends the building’s exterior.

dmvA site apostolinnen



behind the somerhuys is an 18th century warehouse, part of the convent of the apostolins. the building is now divided into eight student studios. two 19th century buildings now host commercial space on the ground floor. six new residential units are situated behind and above the shops, including a new building with two triplex houses. the new building serves as a catalyst for the entire site. it is a brick monolith which integrates external staircases, alleys, and patios, which introduces a new network of circulation throughout the condensed site, offering access to the homes behind and above the retail spaces. the new building is an expression of brick stone architecture, standing out because of its tactility through weeping mortar joints in the masonry.

dmvA site apostolinnen dmvA site apostolinnen dmvA site apostolinnen dmvA site apostolinnen dmvA site apostolinnen dmvA site apostolinnen dmvA site apostolinnen



project info:


title: site apostolinnen

architect: dmvA architecten

location: mechelen, belgium

design team: tom verschueren, david driesen, valerie lonnoy, veerle delaunay, gert-jan schulte

completion: june 2018

photography: bart gosselin

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