The Old Tower

Oostelbeers

hidden monument

Between Oostelbeers, Middelbeers and the Oirschotse Heide stands an old tower, hidden in the landscape. The tower is far from the village buildings in the meadows, hidden in the green of old linden and oak on a small plot. It is a sober brick structure of four sections without buttresses. The tower is surrounded with large oak trees and linden trees. There are remains of the church next to it, and the whole appears to have been surrounded by a moat and earthen wall. In the tower is no longer inhabited but for some bats and a barn owl.

The lower sections of the dating from the first half of the 14th century and the fourth section was added in the 15th century. The church building, which was located on the east side of the tower, must have been slightly older, according to construction tracks. The east facade of the tower clearly shows traces of two different roofs. Moreover, underneath the lower roof, the front of the church is visible: this façade is integrated in its entirety in the tower. The tower used to be a spire, like the old church of Middelbeers.
The tower is a remnant of the medieval parish church of Oostelbeers, which was dedicated to Saint Andrew. The Oostelbeers settlement was probably more in the vicinity of the church, to move to the north over the centuries. After the Eighty Years' War, the church and the tower became the property of Protestants, who were strongly in the minority in Catholic Brabant. The Catholic community then built a barn church and, later, a brick church, with no tower, in the village beyond. A tower was later added to that new church. In the 18th century, the old church outside the village was returned to the Catholic community in a highly dilapidated state. The church was demolished and the tower remained standing.
The municipality of Oirschot, of which Oostelbeers is a part, has many places of interest. It has 320 national and municipal monuments and has two protected village views. Oirschot therefore has the largest "monument density" in the Netherlands. The municipality intends to form a more detailed vision of the possibilities and opportunities that are available to make the heritage of the city more livable and possibly to link it to other tasks in the city, including the leisure economy.The municipality also wants to make the Oude Toren more livable and can be used as a decorum, and possibly as a facility, for numerous activities and small-scale events such as weddings, concerts, theater, culinary gatherings, etc. At the same time, the municipality wants the characteristic character of the 'lonely tower in the green 'as little damage as possible and if possible further strengthen. This requires a spatially subtle and strategic approach.
The tower is transformed into a large periscope that offers a view of the landscape. The periscope is made by placing two large mirrors at an angle of 45 degrees with the horizontal plane that offer a view of the surroundings. When the periscope is not in use, the mirror on top of the tower is horizontal, and therefore serves as a roof. Visitors can activate the periscope by opening the roof mirror on top of the tower. The periscope closes automatically after use so that the tower becomes dark again. The passage on the east side of the tower that is currently closed is opened and provided with a hard glass plate so that visitors can look through the opening at the periscope.
daytime: view of landscape
daytime: view of landscape
evening: sunset view
evening: sunset view
night: light projection from tower
night: light projection from tower
The interior space is made suitable for organizing small meetings: ceremonies, workshops, markets, etc. To make this possible, the lower mirror must be able to be tilted against the wall so that the interior space can be made usable. When activities are held in the tower, the roof mirror is closed. The tower is illuminated from the inside, and additionally equipped with a movable projector that can be used for film projections on the rear of the lower mirror or to shine light or over the landscape through the mirrors. The niche from which the periscope can be viewed is a small, intimate space that is ideally suited for playing sound representations. With such a sound reproduction the story of the history of the tower can be told to visitors. The way that happens can be through a story being told, but also through the playing of music, sounds from the history of the church or by playing sounds from the environment.
Closed configuration
Closed configuration
Periscope
Periscope
Meeting room
Meeting room
year
2018

team
ir. Marco Vermeulen, ir. Bram Willemse, Msc. M.Arch. Bertus van Woerden, MSc. Joshua Ho

programme
periscope

client
Gemeente Oirschot


next project:
Peppel Panorma