Residence De Vakschool

Client: Recybuild
Location: Aarschot
Design team: Tom Verschueren, David Driesen, Evelien Deprins, Kotryna Urbonaite
Credits 3D image: Rendoo
Size: 18 apartments & an underground parking


An interplay between height differences and history

Residence De Vakschool is located in the city center of Aarschot, a stone’s throw from the Main Square. The site currently houses a building that was once a technical school, called the Vakschool.

In recent years the interior of the Vakschool has lost all its authentic elements and spaciousness due to renovations. That is why only the façade in eclectic style with art deco elements will be preserved. Behind the historic school façade in red-yellow brick masonry, a new apartment building will be built that creates a visible but subtle confrontation with the existing façade. The joinery of the school façade will be dismantled so that only openings remain through which the new façade is occasionally visible. The windows of the new façade differ in height from the openings of the existing façade, which results in a playful confrontation between old and new.

Adjacent to the site is a public garden whose transition to the building gives a desolated impression. dmvA therefore focuses on integration architecture in which a new contemporary building forms a landmark and balances the height between the parallel streets. The steep roof is an archetypal reference to the history of Aarschot, such as the Main Square and ‘s Hertogen mills. Between the new building and the park, a public outdoor staircase is created that forms a shortcut next to the building block and makes a connection to the existing urban fabric of footpaths. With a gradual transition from public to semi-public space to private space, the stairs enhance the accessibility of the area and strengthen the urban fabric.

Since the original courtyard is shaded by the high adjacent buildings, dmvA has opted to place the new courtyard one level higher, making it airier and lighter. The semi-public space is accessed via the exterior staircase and via an alley with a gate. The ground floor apartments located under the courtyard are conceived as patio houses so that they receive sufficient light and air.

Adjacent to the site is a public garden whose transition to the building gives a desolated impression. dmvA therefore focuses on integration architecture in which a new contemporary building forms a landmark and balances the height between the parallel streets. The steep roof is an archetypal reference to the history of Aarschot, such as the Main Square and ‘s Hertogen mills. Between the new building and the park, a public outdoor staircase is created that forms a shortcut next to the building block and makes a connection to the existing urban fabric of footpaths. With a gradual transition from public to semi-public space to private space, the stairs enhance the accessibility of the area and strengthen the urban fabric.

Since the original courtyard is shaded by the high adjacent buildings, dmvA has opted to place the new courtyard one level higher, making it airier and lighter. The semi-public space is accessed via the exterior staircase and via an alley with a gate. The ground floor apartments located under the courtyard are conceived as patio houses so that they receive sufficient light and air.