House of the Prior of the Red-Cloister
Renovation and restoration project
Domaine du Rouge-Cloître, 1160 Bruxelles
Year of construction
Ministère de la Région Bruxelles-Capitale - Régie Foncière (Direction Facilities du SPRB)
Origin Architecture & Engineering (restoration & stability), LD2 (architecture)
The house of the Prior of the Red Monastery is one of the oldest buildings on the site and is the only remnant of the old monastery. This wing, which gave directly on to the church, once housed the chapter house, the Prior's residence and the canons' rooms. Built between the 14th and 15th century, the building went through two major renovation phases: one in the 17th century and the other in the 18th century.
In 1796, the monks definitively left the priory and the Red Cloister became a national property. Between the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century, the estate changed ownership several times and a dozen of buildings, including the church, were destroyed.
The many restrictive conditions to which the building is subject (listed site and building, Natura 2000 zone, protected bat species in the attics, etc.) nourished the concepts and exchanges regarding the restoration philosophy.
The challenge of the restoration was thus to meet these different requirements and find the right balance between site, nature, heritage and the new destination. The building must not only be able to welcome visitors to the Red Monastery, but also accommodate various other functions, such as a restaurant and an event space for cultural events. The GOB is currently looking for an exploiter for the spaces.
To attain this balance, the following aspects were considered crucial for the restoration and rehabilitation:
Respect for the historical stratification and authenticity of the property through the conservation and restoration of all preserved and recuperated elements (plank floors, walls, stairs, vaults, consoles, carpentry, etc.);
Reconstruction of disappeared elements to make the original architecture readable again (broken pointed arch window, console, monastery vault, etc.);
Marking the connections with the other wings of the monastery, which have now disappeared, with a contemporary intervention that also responds to the redevelopment of the site;
Adapting the building to meet the norms within the respect of the heritage elements ;
Integration of new techniques, harmonious with the existing building ;
Rehabilitation of the surrounding area, in continuity with the project initiated by Bruxelles Environnement according to the plan of R.P. Culp of 1786;
Preservation of the attics as a nesting place for bats.
Please do not hesitate to contact us. Someone from the Origin team will be happy to answer your questions.