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Architectural project


March 2018 > autumn 2021

Conversion and extension of the Museum of Ixelles
For three years, the Museum of Ixelles will be turned into a huge building site. The architectural project to transform and extend the museum will make it possible to:

- Capitalise on the building’s relationship with its environment and its visibility within a fairly dense urban context;
- Improve the visitor reception area through the clear reorganisation of roles;
- A quality redevelopment of the internal and external spaces;
- Open the second floor of exhibition galleries out onto the main hall;
- Design a new bookshop and cafeteria;
- Create educational spaces, an experience and statue garden;
- Increase the comfort of the relaxation area;
- Give greater visibility to the literary and retail space.

In 2013, B-architecten won the design contract. These past three years, the design team, with the support of the research consultancies Util (stability) and Boydens (technical), has worked intensively on the conversion plans.

The ambitious architectural project is being carried out by the B-architecten firm, in collaboration with the Museum of Ixelles and the Architecture department of the Municipality of Ixelles.

For the design, B-architecten started out from the main strengths of the existing museum complex. The guiding principle of the project is to open up the Museum of Ixelles to the public and create a dialogue with its immediate urban environment.

An outstanding welcome

A new route brings the four different buildings together in a single museum. This new route will become the heart of the Museum of Ixelles and will encompass, amongst others, the entrance hall, the ticket office, a new bookshop and the creation of a cafeteria. A separate use of the spaces for temporary and permanent exhibitions will be made possible thanks to the creation of the new entrance.


The main entrance has also been enlarged and redesigned. It will become a meeting and gathering place for visitors and people using the museum on the one hand, but also for local residents, passers-by and school pupils. This place will become a meeting point and there is no reason why it shouldn’t be bursting with activities - its vitality will have a positive impact on its urban environment. This new gateway constitutes a third façade in its own right. It is intended as the focal point of an invitation to come and discover the museum. Its roof will also be covered in vegetation.


In the temporary exhibitions wing, a former events hall built at the start of the 20th century, the existing staircase and lift on the street side will be transformed in order to create a monumental space. This large space bathed in natural light will be fitted out as a café and museum shop, directly linked to the reception and the new entrance. On the second floor, visitors can contemplate this communal space through the existing large openings.

Increased exhibition space

In the temporary exhibition halls, the staircases at the extremities of the gangways will be extended to the second floor creating the opening of an additional exhibition space.

Between showcase and agora

The existing garden on the street side will be laid out as an urban living space with a south-west facing terrace next to the cafeteria. It will link the new entrance and Rue Jean Van Volsem by creating a passageway between the street and the Museum of Ixelles. This garden will be accessible to all, visitors and locals alike.

Extension: creation of educational spaces

The public will be welcomed in much improved conditions through the renovation of the building located at number 75 Rue Jean Van Volsem. This former staff accommodation will be home to new educational spaces, a multi-purpose room (meetings, conferences, screenings, seminars…), workshops and offices. A new staircase and lift will link this building to all the floors of the existing wing, which will mean the floors in the main exhibition hall are accessible to people of reduced mobility.

A new sculpture garden

The roof terrace of the new workshop at the back of the former staff accommodation enables visitors to explore the new sculpture garden, which will be part of the new museum.

Adapted technical premises

The size of the administrative and storage areas (offices, storage, workshops etc.), vital for the smooth running of the museum, will be increased, and the cloakroom and toilets will be in the basement and easily accessible.

Chronology of the project and provisional forward planning – subject to change depending on the progress of the building works

Purchase of the building at 75 Rue Van Volsem

Inventory of fixtures, new management, development of a new strategy and reflection on the expansion dossier

End 2013
An expert panel (town planners, architects, museum professionals) examines the projects put forward in the call for proposals of the architectural competition

The Municipality of Ixelles awards the task of developing the architectural project to B-architecten

27 July 2017
Delivery of the building permit

8 November 2017
Delivery of the environmental permit

February 2018
Awarding of the public works contract to the main contractor

May 2018
Start of the building works

By 2021
Reopening of the new Museum of Ixelles

Building works

The building site will be set up in the interior of the site, on the courtyard in front of the museum. The space is sufficiently large to house such an installation.

The visual impact on the public space will be limited to the demolition of the existing extension at the entrance to the Museum of Ixelles, and the protected scaffolding for the renovation of the street facing façade of the museum and the former staff accommodation.

During the works, the building site will only be accessible from Rue Jean Van Volsem, at the point of intersection with Rue Van Aa.

During the first phase of the building works, notably during the demolition of the existing entrance and annexes in the garden of the former barracks, it’s possible that there will be a minor impact on traffic in Rue Jean Van Volsem. Particular attention will be paid to the delimitation of the area occupied by the building works and to keeping it secure. During this relatively short phase, the building works might cause some disruption in the form of noise and dust as a result of the demolition works.

The building works continue with the construction of the new entrance building, the construction of the technical workshop at the back of the former barracks and the placing of the new external emergency stairwell. When the prefabricated construction systems are delivered to the building site there might be some slight traffic disruption in Rue Jean Van Volsem; noise and dust will remain minimal.

The remaining works mainly concentrate on the internal renovation of the museum and the former barracks, and will have a very limited negative impact on the environment. The technical integration and completion works shouldn’t cause any particular disruption either.

Work on the grounds of the museum including the ornamental tiling and the planting of vegetation comes next. All of the infrastructure works will have been finalised during the construction phase, making it possible to limit disruption related to work on the grounds.


The municipality is investing almost €2,500,000 in this project. €500,000.00 has been bequeathed by the Albert and Lydie Demuyter Foundation (Albert Demuyter was a former Mayor of Ixelles).

The architectural firm B-architecten

B-architecten is a platform for research into unusual spatial solutions aimed at raising the quality and sustainability of life.
B-architecten, founded in 1997 by Evert Crols, Dirk Engelen and Sven Grooten, is today a team of 50 architects, town planners and architect-engineers who come up with architectural and urban design projects.

The team is based in Antwerp and Brussels and brings together skills in numerous domains: housing, offices, businesses and their interior design, public buildings, public spaces... Exhibition layout and stage design is another one of the services they provide.
From the very beginning the firm has aimed to encourage freedom of exchange and the process of interconnection between architecture and other disciplines such as graphic design, art and multimedia.


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