A historic brick chapel in Sint-Truiden, Belgium needed updating. But why erase the church’s perfectly imperfect character when you could just build an entirely new building inside it? That was the approach taken by Belgian architecture studio Klaarchitectuur. The chapel’s historic shell was left completely untouched—from its faded frescoes and chipped plaster to its vaulted ceiling.
Inside of the soaring space, the firm constructed a free-standing interior building of white stacked volumes. The new structure’s monochrome palette, sharp edges, and crisp orthogonal lines create a compelling contrast with the crumbling and patina of the surrounding building.
The new white boxes contain key administrative spaces including offices, workstations, a conference room, storage, and bathrooms. The sanctuary space can now be used to host public events that better serve the community.
From the outside, the only hint of the modern intervention within is the edge of a windowed white box piercing the church’s tiled roof.