The complex will also feature a green area, something that most of Bruges lacks, Source: bildt via City of Bruges

16th-century monastery in Bruges will become a sustainable apartment complex

16th-century monastery in Bruges will become a sustainable apartment complex

The Carmel – Atelier de Notre Dame will feature a geothermal system, that can both cool and warm the new apartments

Today, authorities in Bruges, Belgium, announced that they will convert a Carmelite Monastery into a residential complex of single-family homes, apartments and lofts. The shift in the building’s use is quite significant for the region, as much of Bruges is considered a UNESCO world heritage site, being among the finest conserved examples of Medieval European cities.  

A rich architectural heritage, however, comes with its own set of challenges, including the fact that local authorities have a hard time with new, large-scale development. Thus the Carmel – Atelier de Notre Dame church and monastery will shift from a religious site to regular housing.

History of the site

The Carmelite Monastery was built over a previous structure, while different parts of the complex date back to different times. According to municipal records, however, the site has been used for religious purposes since at least the early 16th century.

Furthermore, the chapel was built in a neo-Gothic style and dates back to the 19th century, while much of the monastery accommodations have been used by Teresian Sisters since 1817. The complex also features a large green space, which opens the possibility for new development in this historic section of the city.

The future of the monastery looks sustainable

Work on the complex will start in spring 2023 and people will be able to start moving in in 2026. Importantly, according to the city, much of the historic façade will remain intact and development will focus on the interior. By the end, the Carmelite Monastery will offer six single-family homes, 13 apartments and a loft, that will occupy the former church.

Moreover, the garden will be transformed into a pavilion with bicycle sheds while the whole complex will be equipped with a geothermal system. It will, in turn, offer the new complex a sustainable heating and cooling system.



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