The Rubens House provides a nod in the longitudinal axis.

The palazzo on Hopland with trompe-l'oeil façade in natural stone. Perspective and trompe-l'oeuil were vivid themes at the time of Rubens.

We are building a new building on Hopland over 4 floors. The building, which follows a clear Palladian scheme, houses a the reception desk and various exhibition spaces.

The bent façade of the Rubenianum embraces the garden and fits well into the Kolveniershof.

The reception desk where tourists buy their tickets, and then enter the garden through a second portal.

The double spiral staircase between the second and third floors: a touch of Vredeman De Vries. Granito floors, stair cheeks made of wood and marble for the finishing of the ends.

The false perspective of the façade of the Rubenianum in a combination of polished concrete and marble.

Rubens House Extension


A visitor center requires a clear organization. The reorganisation of the Wapper square allows for a free view of the Rubens House and smooth routing for larger visitor numbers.

Ground & first floor

Floor plans

Floor plans

Floor plans

Floor plans

Floor plans

A new visitor centre and archive building (the Rubenianum) are being constructed around the historic garden. The scheme is clearly Palladian, with both volumes executed in a domestic, Mannerist language that grafts itself onto the surroundings. The relationship between architecture and trompe-l’oeil was deeply entwined during Rubens’ own lifetime and a subject of contemporary debate. Rubens himself was greatly influenced by figures such as Vredeman de Vries, Giulio Romano, Michelangelo and Scamozzi. For the aforementioned Mannerists, there was no absolute boundary between two-dimensional representations and three-dimensional constructions. The trompe l’oeil facades of the new buildings suggest the illusion of depth within a classical articulation. They playfully transform from an oblique angle into a semi-abstract intarsia, as a noteworthy form of ornamentation.

  • Design teamDirk Somers, Carole Boeckx, Axel Chevroulet, Vera Bannwart, Sander Laureys, Tobias Puhlmann and Odair Nelson Fortes
  • LocationAntwerp
  • Year2016
  • ClientCity of Antwerp
  • StatusCompetition
  • In collaboration withLandinzicht, landscape architects and Callebaut Architects