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Het Rubenshuis en de tuin

The master plan

Pressure on the site has increased steadily in the seventy-five years since the museum opened. With the impetus provided by a leverage grant from Tourism Flanders, Antwerp City Council asked the Flemish Government Architect on 30 May 2016 to develop a vision for the reception, experience and operation of the Rubens House.

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The master plan intends to continue in the same vein: with both immense respect for Rubens’ work and an appropriate commitment to renewal. The plan covers the entire Rubens House site:

  • The artist’s residence, with the Flemish wing and the Italian wing designed by Rubens himself;
  • The artist’s garden, which also served as the verdant setting for some of his family portraits; and
  • The adjoining Kolveniershof, with both the historic arquebusiers’ building and modern-day Rubenianum.

The site lies at the heart of the city block between Wapper, Hopland, Kolveniersstraat and Meir and was the focus of Peter Paul Rubens’ work in seventeenth-century Antwerp.


A new building and a new routing

To be able to guarantee a high-quality service and an inspiring dynamic in the future, spatial expansion and integration of the two operations on the site are clearly necessary. Robbrecht and Daem have worked out concrete answers to this: a new building at 13 Hopland, with a reception area, experience centre, museum café and the Rubenianum’s internationally renowned library, plus a new routing that will increase and deepen understanding of Rubens’ work and life.

Paul Robbrecht:

"The site borders a highly commercial zone in the city. So we’re also trying to create a very clear signal from the street side: when you enter this site, at this point,
you’re stepping into a different world."


A newly landscaped museum garden and an adapted artist's home

In addition to Robbrecht and Daem’s interventions, the museum garden will be completely redesigned as a central connecting element, with respect for the past as well as responding to new needs. Various construction works will also be carried out in the artist’s home to improve comfort and safety.

The Rubens House will, however, be entirely ready for the future by 2024, thanks to the combination and interplay of the pillars.

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Voorgevel nieuwbouw © Robbrecht en Daem architecten

A new building

The various needs that exist cannot be solved within the existing infrastructure. Expansion is needed – that much is clear. A location study shows that the undeveloped space along 13 Hopland is the most suitable place to achieve this much-needed expansion. It is located behind the garden wall along Hopland, between two taller buildings.