An abandoned school site next to Tienen city centre holds a key position in the creation of attractive urban living that can provide a healthy environment, high-quality facilities, social contact among residents and an adapted mobility.

The buildings together – two existing and two new – define and embrace a set of collective gardens that aim to foster a sense of togetherness among the residents. Residents can grow their own vegetables in the vegetable garden, have parties on the neighbourhood square, play in an orchard or have a picnic in the yard.

The new buildings are built in a rational system that makes it possible to link units together to function as life-cycle apartments. A high ground-floor plan accommodates possible economic or artistic activities to further respond to future changes in the use of the buildings. By adding an exterior circulation, the generous classrooms of the existing buildings can be refitted to accommodate loft apartments while still preserving the valuable wooden interior framework. The same concrete structure that is used as an exterior circulation is used in the new buildings to provide generous terraces for the apartments.

Richly detailed street façades with generous openings mark the entrances to the site. Size and window proportions are the common denominator between old and new, and blend history with the present.

  • Location

    Tienen, Belgium

  • Client


  • Competition


  • Construction

    2020 - 2022

  • In collaboration with

    ArchitectureAST 77

  • 51N4E project team

    Johan Anrys, Freek Persyn, Wim Menten, Matthias Salaets, Marta Petrov, Eline Cooman, Janik Beckers, Eva De Bruyn, Anton Parys

  • 51N4E involvement

    Full Process

  • Structural engineer


  • Technical engineer


  • Acoustical engineer

    D2S International

  • EPB

    Heireman Vebep

  • Landscape

    Plant- en Houtgoed

  • Safety coordination


  • Construction costs

    ca. €9.000.000 (landscape and participation trajectory included)

  • Programme

    Renovation of former school campus to 52 housing units and facilities

  • Built surface

    7.145 m² (above ground)

  • Photography


  • Image credits