Springbok reveals plans for church at Venice Architecture Biennale


Amsterdam, 17 May 2023 - Communications agency Springbok and the architects from OFFICEU have given the Sint-Albertus church in Mechelen a very special dual function: the new international head offices of Springbok and a meeting spot for local residents. By adding contemporary architectural elements to the church, a unique concept has been created that’s been selected for the Time Space Existence exhibition during the eighteenth edition of the prestigious Venice Biennale of Architecture 2023.

Springbok and OFFICEU collaborate to create unique headquarters that revitalises community space

The last mass in the Sint-Albertus church took place in 2014. Springbok, in collaboration with OFFICEU, developed a project proposal that ticked all the boxes. The agency, which is originally from Mechelen, spotted an opportunity to not only transform the landmark church into an office, while preserving the architectural value of the building. Springbok also developed a social purpose for the church that fits the building’s original one: a physical space where local residents can meet regularly. This way, outside of office hours, the building can act as a central location where locals can gather to take part in a range of activities, like theatre performances, concerts, meetings, book- and DIY-clubs and charitable activities.

New interior

A mix of traditional and modern architecture make the church versatile. A new copy of the central nave is placed next to the building, with work spaces on different levels. The entire church space remains open, becoming multi-functional through a flexible layout. The renovated choir–the space where the altar was stood–remains the building’s heart, for interactive and informal meetings. A newly constructed park garden offers the people of Springbok, their visitors and local residents a peaceful area for relaxation, reflection and inspiration.


“To us, building in a sustainable way means building with and for the community. We aim to create spaces that are multifunctional and flexible, allowing for human creativity to flourish, places that stimulate encounters and spontaneous exchanges. This project for the repurposing of the Sint-Albertus church in Mechelen shows how architecture can be a medium to bring people together, and become socially relevant. During the Time Space Existence exhibition at the 2023 Venice Biennale of Architecture, which draws an international audience of over 300.000 (!) architects, designers and other visitors, we want to show that building sustainably means more than just insulating.”

Pieter Thibaut, architect with OFFICEU

“Together with OFFICEU, we succeeded in creating a space that honours the past and simultaneously embraces the future. We struck the right balance between form and function, which will turn the church into a beautiful space which the local community will also get to enjoy for years to come. With this project we hope to inspire others to also choose for a creative approach to architecture and design, with the goal of bringing people closer together and creating more connectivity. Of course it will be a very pleasant workplace for all our colleagues and visiting clients. I’m looking forward to it.”

Kim Verhaeghen, Springbok CEO.



The church will be shown together with three other projects by OFFICEU from 20 May for six months at the Time Space Existence exhibition in Palazzo More, part of the international Venice Biennale of Architecture. After the physical exhibition, it will be possible to visit it digitally. For info, look up “virtual tours” on the website for a virtual visit from May 20th.

Communal role

Do you have any questions or ideas regarding the communal role of the church building? Please contact Springbok. Springbok aims to finish the remodeling in 2025.


Client: Springbok
Architect: OFFICEU architects for urbanity
Project team: Pieter Maes, Pieter Thibaut, Lily Benoit, Louise Blancquaert, Li Li Yap
Structural engineer: BAS
Technical engineer: Botec
Acoustical engineer: Bureau De Fonseca
Renders: nuvillu