Testing the Grounds |
Site: Abbey Roosenberg

2016 – 2017

Testing the Grounds

number of studios simultaneously run by St Lucas Ghent, TU Delft and CASS London have made proposals for the re-use of the former abbey of Roosenberg in Waasmunster (B), designed by the Dutch monk Dom Hans van der Laan in 1974. What are the qualities of its architecture and the extra ordinary scenic locationHow far can a designer go without affecting the character of the buildingsAll students were asked to formulate proposals for the extension of the abbey 

 The importance of van der Laan’s architecture lies both in the way in which the buildings are designed, proportioned and materialized, and in the essential questions it raises. His ideas about proportion, the relationship between nature and architecture, between community and individual, silence and movement, well-being and space or between old and new are not bound to any religion or to any particular time or use. This makes the work of Dom Hans van der Laan so timeless.  

Each of the studios dealt with van der Laan’s legacy from their own perspective. Meeting and exchanges happened both in Waasmunster and in the various schools. Van der Laan’s architecture appeared more resilient than was initially assumedstudents proposals ranged from extensions, to pavilions in the wood, from dementia care homes, academic centres to concert halls and musea, demonstrating that the architectural lessons of van der Laan can inspire a new generation of architects.   

The results of the three studio’s have been exhibited at the Abbey as part of the exhibition at the VAI on the work of van der Laan in fall 2017. The ideas developed also inspired the upcoming redevelopment of the complex by KU Leuven, of which the form, scope and ambition of are slowly beginning to take shape 


TU Delft (NL): Mechthild Stuhlmacher and Anne Fonteyn 
St. Lucas Ghent (B):  Mechthild StuhlmacherEireen SchreursCaroline Voet 
CASS London (GB): Florian Beigel and Philip Christou 


Students St Lucas Ghent: 

Alexander Deryckere 
Anke De Meulemeester 
Arzu Avci
Dzana Mujkanovic 
Ines Verbiese 
Katrien Lommaert 
Laura Baert 
Laurenz Withaeckx 
Leander Tommelein 
Michael Van De Keere 
Michiel Vuye 
Renaat De Fleurquin 
Stijn Baert 
Thomas Hondekyn 
Ulrike Vandenberghe 
Wouter Willemyns