LOCATION / Brussels, Belgium
CLIENT / Den Auden Olephant s.a.
PARTNERS / Sixtine and Anne Derasse (interior architect)
AREA / 4 452 sqm above ground
PROGRAM / Museum and housing
PROJECT / 1995 - 2000
STATUS / Built 2002
The Lace Museum was rather cramped at 6 rue de la Violette, and needed additional space to show its collections. Slightly more than 500 square metres have been laid out as exhibition rooms, a shop and storerooms behind the façades of the houses at Nos. 10 to 20. These houses, which are listed buildings, have been conserved, as well as the interior structures and floors. The houses at Nos. 10 and 12, dating from the end of the 17th century, had their rear spans removed during construction of the cold storage facilities in the 1930s. These missing spans were rebuilt and the rear façades now open out onto a new courtyard in the centre of the block. This gives a view of the little alleyway which used to be blocked by the façades of the cold store and the outbuildings of the shops. For the extension, all the new spaces are connected via a new vertical circulation, which was devised taking account of the differing floor-levels in the various buildings. A spiral staircase, installed at the intersection of the three buildings links together the various functions accessible to the public. A multipurpose exhibition room is laid out in the old workshop at 4 Petite rue de la Violette. The original roof frame was restored and given prominence in an open space reserved for exhibiting large items. The houses at Nos. 25 and 27 rue des Chapeliers, and the contemporary extension, home 28 apartments, a new staircase, and a large shop window for a tourists information centre.