1987 – Abbey Complex

The brief involved a radical adaption of the rooms used by the provincial government of Zeeland, and an extension into the existing cloister garden. Though the appearance and construction of the additions make it obvious that they are modern, there is no attempt to contrast sharply with the historic. Every element incorporates a recollection of the original late-Gothic architecture, without necessarily conforming to it. An important intervention in the old building was executed in the abbey hall, where the council of Zeeland meets. In order to make this long, narrow space suitable for an open arrangement for meetings the seating is ranked in circular segments around a central point, with an enormous steel chandelier hanging above it.

A press gallery has been added to one of the short sides of the hall. The annex in the cloister garden has the form of a big conservatory consisting of two small pavilions for informal discussions. The form of the pavilions is a reference to the small tower of the old teahouse in the garden. The circulation in the abbey complex was extensively revised with only minimal architectural interventions. The reception rooms are now entered via three metre-wide, ceremonial doors, which incorporate smaller doors for daily use.

The abbey courtyard, the central outdoor space, has also been redesigned and regained its original character and function as a central meeting place. The courtyard is paved with traditional Dutch clinkers and bluestone lines that interlink the entrances to the buildings and the gateways.