Angelahof is the result of a design process which increasingly was determined by appreciation of a monastery for the Ursuline sisters in Diepenbeek, a building complex with a 19th century origin. This newfound appreciation led to the safeguarding and reuse of a larger part of this monastery than was initially thought possible, including wings that aren’t legally protected monuments in the new plan. Furthermore, early design research led to the decision that the complex could best serve as a residential care centre, a programme which corresponds with the social values of the original religious users.
The spaces behind the main façade, 140m in length, are maintained and reprogrammed, transforming the role of this monastery in the townscape.
The main access to the care centre is situated on the backside of the complex, in the former monastery garden, of which a significant part was safeguarded. This green space finds connection with a corridor of places that are meaningful for the village of Diepenbeek: the village centre, the neighbouring school and a landscaped cemetery.
The corridor forms a slow connection that complements the busy street in front of the complex, the Wijkstraat. Two new wings are placed perpendicular to the north-south orientated original complex. These new wings are materialised in sober, light, white-beige brickwork, and have a reduced height where they connect to the dark, red-brown monastery. A colonnade of slender steel columns carries balconies, and refers to the Gothic Revival architecture of the monastery chapel interior. This chapel is part of the main building which is a protected monument and is meticulously conserved, from structure to furniture.
Between the new and old buildings, several exterior spaces came into existence which are being arranged as garden spaces. Each of these gardens has its own character, based on the original topography of the site where possible.
Viewpoints differing in height are created to allow for a diversified experience of the garden, from the grand café, the main hall and form the garden pathways. The entrance is marked by a monumental beech tree, a structuring relic of the monastery garden which is safeguarded.
2016 - 2020
Dennis De Smet, Sander Van de Weert