Throughout the years, the Villers-la-Ville abbey site had lost its logic and unity -divided and savagely crossed by a national road- making it hardly legible as a homogenous whole and being solely reduced to the ruins of the holy yard. This incoherent layout led to the creation of a masterplan reuniting the Cistercian site. Unlike the former entry which proved incoherent and out-of-place –directly situated in the heart of the ruins– the new visitors center, which is located in the rehabilitated old mill, offers a solid starting point for the visits and leads the path to progressive discovery of the ruins. The accessible architectural sequences wind through the mill (reception hall, model room), reaching the opposite hill by a new footbridge, past the garden and over a second bridge before finally heading down into the ruins. While the tone is set gradually through landscaping and a consistent sober range of materials, a climactic point is reached when, from the new vantage points, breathtaking views of the abbey unravel before the visitors.
Visitor Center of Villers Abbey
Pigeon Ochej Paysage
Surface area sqm
Light designer: Henriette Michaux Structural engineer: BESP / JZH & Partners Mechanical engineer: Seca benelux