Groenendaal College by HUB

Historic castle becomes dynamic school

Project Specs


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Appreciation towards HUB for providing the following description:


This project involves the conversion of a castle with heritage value into the Brede school on behalf of Groenendaal College. As such, it functions as a model project within the “catch-up” operation for the construction of new schools in Flanders. The original main building’s heritage value does not allow for any drastic changes while its location in a park of natural-historic value does not allow for an expansion of the existing volume. Despite these constraints, the school is in need of a functional and spatial improvement of its classrooms, along with additional space for its multifunctional and public programme. With regards to the latter, our attention was drawn to the cellar and ground floor, both of which have an extensive floor plan that is easily accessible and also easy to separate from the remaining parts of the castle.

▼从公园望向建筑,view to the building form the park © Wouter De Ceuster

▼建筑立面,facade © Wouter De Ceuster

▼立面近景,closer view © Wouter De Ceuster


The building currently consists of the original castle – in more or less original condition with the exception of a few rooms – and an outbuilding which dates from the 1950s. The latter accounts for half the surface area of the cellar and ground floor with façades that reflect those of the original castle in terms of rhythm, materiality and detailing. We realised that we could only stand in admiration of the radicalism and resolve with which the decision in favour of this stylistic replica must have been taken. The problem of the annex is not so much the architecture, however, but its interruption of the original relationship between the castle and the park.

▼原有城堡,the existing castle © Wouter De Ceuster

▼扩建部分,the annex © Wouter De Ceuster

▼城堡和公园之间的过渡空间,the transition between the castle and park © Wouter De Ceuster


The historic salons – which once directly overlooked the park – have as a result of the annex become dark, isolated rooms. Unusable due to the lack of daylight. Nor does the annex itself, with its heavy concrete structure and low ceiling height, offer much in the way of experiential value. We therefore decided to break out the floor of the annex and replace its solid roof with a glass cupola. The resultant double-height hall allows for a more flexible use of the space while also allowing more daylight to penetrate deeper into the building.

▼通高大厅,the double-height hall © David Jacobs

▼丰富的活动空间,the space for various activities © Wouter De Ceuster

▼大厅立面,interior facade of the hall © David Jacobs

▼教室,the classroom © Wouter De Ceuster

▼从教室望向大厅,view to the hall from the classroom © Wouter De Ceuster

▼大厅细部,details © Wouter De Ceuster


Contemporary in character, the space also serves to restore the original transition between the castle and the park while also making way for a wider variety of multifunctional and public programmes in the annex. The regular school programme, by contrast, is moved entirely to the historic castle, in keeping with the character of the existing rooms.

▼镜面扩大城堡的空间感 © David Jacobs
the mirror enlarges the space of the castle

▼保留原始风格的城堡房间 © David Jacobs
the castle rooms with original style

▼走廊,the corridor © Wouter De Ceuster

▼明亮的楼梯间,the bright staircase © Wouter De Ceuster

▼俯瞰楼梯,overlooking the staircase © Wouter De Ceuster

▼总平面图,site plan © HUB

▼一层平面图,ground floor plan © HUB

▼二层平面图,first floor plan © HUB

▼剖面图,section © HUB

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