The Antwerp City Council took the decision, backed by a leverage grant from Tourism Flanders, to draw up a master plan for the Rubens House site. The plan aims to improve the infrastructure and give the Rubens House back the lively and inspiring atmosphere it had in the seventeenth century. It aims to do so with a vision worthy of Rubens, so that the site is firmly anchored in the twenty-first century and ready to face the future.
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.
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.
The new building at 13 Hopland provides breathing space for the entire site, and especially for you, the visitor. Thanks to the new building and the new routing, you will no longer have to dive straight into Rubens’ private life unprepared.
The garden was already a green oasis and a place of relaxation in Rubens’ own time. The private quarters, his painting studio, the accommodation for assistants and pupils are all connected to the garden.
The new building, the reversal of the routing and the reinstatement of the museum garden together offer a partial answer to the growing pressure on the Rubens House. But interventions are also inevitably required at the artist's home.