Spotted: three remarkable sacred buildings on last weeks Dessauvage-Safari.

Bijgewerkt: 4 nov 2019



Marc Dessauvage [1931-1984] is consistent in materiality, architectural layout and integration in the context. The physical context, the current state and the affection form the stakeholders couldn’t differ more. In Vosselaar the Sint-Jozefchurch [1968] is currently transforming from a redundant parish church to ‘library and house for recreation’. 15 Kilometers further the Sint-Pauluschurch [1967] hides in the pine forest of the Westmalle Abbey’s heritage landscape. Located on the same domain, Dessauvages largest building arises. 20 Years ago, Monasterium Magnificat [1967] was converted in a healthcare institution.


In the three cases ‘the hand of the architect’ is undisputable. The restrained consistent use of materials leads to poetic, yet pragmatic spaces. Apart from bare concrete, exposed brick and reddish-brown ceramic tiles, (indirect) light can be seen as a construction material. The spaces are encased by a brick wall, which varying height indicates the different functions of the church. In both churches, as well as in the Monasterium Magnificat, the height and the slope of the roof plans reflect the intensity and significance of the event; the (former) altar under a flat roof at maximum height.


Marc Dessauvage sought to integrate his churches into their respective contexts. In the Sint-Paulus church meticulously placed windows frame the wooded area. The lowered ground floor at the Monasterium Magnificat connects exterior and interior; it brings the soil to eyelevel. Likewise, neither the scale nor the morphology and layout of the Sint-Jozefkerk exceed those of van its surrounding. The architect reduced the church building to its essentials, a place for the Christian community. He progressively developed the 'house church', a dignified but modest church, where a community could gather and 'feel at home'.