Z33 Hasselt: Hortus Conclusus as a Model for an Urban Interior

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Issue Vol. 4 No. 1 (2021)
Published Jan 29, 2021
Section Articles
Article downloads 883
DOI: https://doi.org/10.7454/in.v4i1.108
Submitted : Sep 24, 2020 | Accepted : Dec 28, 2020

Bie Plevoets Shailja Patel


This contribution reviews the recent renovation of Z33—House for Contemporary Art, Design and Architecture in Hasselt, Belgium—in the light of its unique implementation of different levels of interiority. The institute is housed in the former beguinage, a site with a rich and layered history and one of the few green public spaces in the city centre. The intervention by architect Francesca Torzo builds further on and strengthens the existing qualities of the site through a creative process of copying and improving. By doing so, she changed the overall appearance of the beguinage, strengthening its quality as an enclosed public space—an intimate yet collective hortus conclusus.

Keywords: Z33, Francesca Torzo, beguinage, hortus conclusus, public interior, museum architecture

Article Details

How to Cite
Plevoets, B., & Patel, S. (2021). Z33 Hasselt: Hortus Conclusus as a Model for an Urban Interior. Interiority, 4(1), 79–94. https://doi.org/10.7454/in.v4i1.108
Author Biographies

Bie Plevoets, Hasselt University

Bie Plevoets studied Interior Architecture and Conservation and obtained a PhD in adaptive reuse approached from an interior perspective. She is currently a senior postdoctoral fellow at the Flemish Research Institute, working in the research group Trace. Her research focuses on the theory of adaptive reuse. Her current project, entitled ‘Reusing the Ruin: building upon the fragmentary fabric’, explores how the recognition of the process of ruination as a given condition of the built environment can generate new insights and concepts concerning the continuous use, reuse, and adaptation of buildings and structures. She is the author of Adaptive Reuse of the Built Heritage: Concepts and Cases of an Emerging Discipline, co-authored by Koenraad Van Cleempoel (Routledge, 2019). She is the Program Coordinator for The International Master in Adaptive Reuse and teaches theory courses on adaptive reuse and heritage in this and other programs at Hasselt University. 

Shailja Patel, CEPT University

Shailja Patel is an interior architect from India. She is a Teaching Associate at CEPT University, assisting for the courses in the program of Bachelor of Interior Design, and independent interior architect. She studied Interior Design from CEPT University, Ahmedabad, and specialized in the field of Adaptive Reuse by completing her Masters at Hasselt University. Her master thesis focused on the nature of the public realm in the Indian context, and more specifically, the potential of Modernist Buildings to serve as public spaces. Practising as a design researcher, her involvement in a funded project by the Tourism Corporation of Gujarat focused on documenting the ancient water structures, also known as 'stepwells'. The report of the research project involved proposing strategies around the revitalization of the stepwells to regenerate regional tourism and awareness of the heritage.


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