Heritage and Architecture department

The Sphinx Factory in Maastricht is a former ceramics factory located just within the perimeter of the old Medieval city walls. Originally located in an outlying suburb of Maastricht, the site now finds itself embedded within the rapidly developing city.

The huge spatial enormity of the complex, alongside its ingrained cultural importance to the city, were the key issues that were dealt with in this project. The project interpreted heritage in a new way: embracing the unfinished and temporal quality of the site. The conversion of the site was composed of two key elements. The first constituted of converting the existing buildings and large open spaces into homes for incoming refugees to the Netherlands. An urban masterplan converted the large site into a village of sorts, including urban agricultural plots and a network of streets and access routes.

The second element of the conversion consisted of a more permanent transformation. One of the buildings  in the complex was considered appropriate for a library and media centre- a useful programme which could be used to service the urban context. The extension to this building aimed to respect the architectural qualities of the existing building, while also allowing for new architectonic interpretations. This library and media centre was used to demonstrate the spectrum of heritage transformation: a purposeful comparison of a temporary versus permanent conversion, and exploring the benefits and potential of both methodologies.

Tutors: Arnold Hemmkens and Bert van Bommel
Result: First Class Honours