Rubenshuis: a new reception building

Robbrecht en Daem architecten is pleased to share with you the first impressions of the new reception building for the 'Rubenshuis', the house, studio and garden of artist Peter Paul Rubens. Positioned on the side and certainly not willing to interfere in Rubens’ famous lines of sight, the new building is a discrete extension to this historical site.

Besides the reception function, it also contains a multimedia experience centre, a museum café, a reading room and the library collection of the Rubenianum, known as the world’s most extensive documentation on early modern Flemish art and artists.

After winning the competition for the development of a new vision for the reception, experience and operation of the entire site, our interven

tions aim to reinforce the heritage values of the Rubenshuis and, above all, put the personality of Peter Paul Rubens back centre stage. Although the new reception building is absolutely of the 21st century, it contains a murmur of the memories and history of Rubens within it.

Rubens invariably drew the male figures in his work inspired by the heroes and gods of classical antiquity, the archetype of the strong body. The emphasis was on the muscle mass. Reflecting on these observations, the building acquires a certain 'muscular mass' or 'corporal identity' with a staccato stack of columns in both the street and garden facades. His preference for monumental diagonals is reflected in the geometry and the course of the building. This is never perpendicular, but rather from one diagonal to another, as in the construction of the spiral staircases. The domestic aspect of this unique place is contained in the two gigantic bookcases that face each other over six floors.

Together with the master plan and the new routing, the new reception building returns to the inspiring interplay between art, business, research and society that Rubens knew how to stage so ingeniously. Along with our team, we truly look forward to continuing the strong and engaging collaboration with the City of Antwerp and the Rubenshuis.


The design team: Robbrecht en Daem architecten - Callebaut Architecten - Bureau d’Etudes Greisch - hp engineers - Daidalos-Peutz