Park Abbey, Heverlee, Belgium

Park Abbey is a 12th-century heritage site that is undergoing a complete restoration by Studio Roma. For the design of the circulation within the abbey's eastern (and primarily public) wing, Studio Roma called on Robbrecht en Daem architecten. Within this design, two tower volumes with a pentagonal footprint were chosen as circulation cores. The larger tower in exposed concrete is part of the museum route, and the smaller tower in steel serves as emergency circulation for student accommodation. 
In terms of both appearance and positioning, every effort was made to integrate the new volumes as subtly as possible into the special surroundings. The concrete tower building was emphatically placed with a point towards the historic building. This makes the addition seem almost detached from the façade. In this way, the new building leaves the historic façade intact. As a result of this positioning, views of highly valuable Romanesque façade elements - remnants of a 13th-century church - are afforded from the staircase of the tower volume.
In order to respect the privacy of the resident clergy, the staircase with its viewing possibilities is deliberately located in the northern part of the concrete tower volume, and the lift in the southern part. The tower volume conceals storage space, sanitary facilities and building services beneath it.
Client
Stad Leuven Studiendienst Gebouwen
Architects
Studio Roma cvba, Robbrecht en Daem architecten
Program
Addition of vertical circulation for the east wing and an escape staircase for the infirmary
Location
Heverlee, Belgium
Date
2019–…
Status
Ongoing
Floor Surface
405 m2
Team
Paul Robbrecht, Hilde Daem, Johannes Robbrecht, Wim Voorspoels, Berst Schellekens, Isabelle Reford
Execution Architect
Studio Roma
Restoration
Studio Roma
Structural Engineering
BAS bvba
Services Engineering
Ingenium
Landscape
Ars Horti