Hedge House

Wijlre is a village nestled along the river Geul in Limburg, the southernmost province of the Netherlands, which abuts the Germany border. The village is home to less than 3,000 people and is, by all means, rather sleepy while retaining its own charm. Castle Wijlre is, next to a large brewery, the most prominent and important entity in the village. Dating from about 1625, the castle has been home to many families over the years, and was most recently purchased in 1981 by Jo and Mariles Eyck, who set about transforming and updating it as a new home for themselves, and their extensive art collection. The modest castle is predominantly composed of brick and stone, and is situated on a wooded plot of land that is surrounded by a moat. The couple restored the home, its gardens dating from the early 1800s, and a coachhouse. 

The castle’s grounds are meticulously maintained, with numerous paths slicing through the various areas of the garden, which seems to create a series of outdoor rooms. The garden is dotted with numerous interventions in the form of artworks that are nearly all site specific and represent some of the late twentieth century’s noted artists. A specific route leads visitors through the estate, on a prescribed path that circles around the castle, into a small wood at the rear of the estate, and then back to the formal garden of hedges and flowers in parterres. Is in within this formal area of hedges that, in 2001, the couple built a pavilion that functions as, among other uses, an art gallery, chicken coop, orangerie, tool shed, and a small meeting room. This ensemble and the estate together comprise ‘Kasteel Wijlre Estate Foundation’. 

In 2012, the collection was purchased by the Bonnefanten Museum in Maastricht, so it can remain being enjoyed by future generations of art lovers. For now, the pavilion named Hedge House serves as the public portion of the estate, which is nearly open all year round to visitors, as with any other museum. It consists of a scheme of interlocking spaces of various heights, connected by two sets of stairs; the two story building is sunken into the ground, and the lower floor houses the art gallery, whereas the upper consists of supporting spaces. The exterior is completely composed of concrete, as are the interiors of the ground level, while the art gallery itself is finished in white plastered walls. Floors are finished in semi-polished concrete.    

While at first the mixed program of chicken coop and art gallery might seem, somewhat odd, this mixing of program is the result of strict requirements for building on the estate’s ground’s due to its historic and therefore protected nature. After several discussions with the province about the owners’ plans for a new building, they were originally denied a building permit, as the intention was to build a chicken coop. As this was not permitted, it was eventually decided that a mixture of programming that would compliment the couple’s art collection and serve a purpose beyond the owners’ needs, met the requirements for the granting of a building permit. In a nod to the Hedge House’s name, the hedge’s adjacent to it in the formal garden, are been trimmed  in such a way the their top edges follow the angle of the pavilion’s roof line–thus metaphorically intertwining the castle, its grounds, with the gardens, and the art. 

Kasteel Wijlreweg 1
6321 PP Wijlre
the Netherlands

Gallery, Institutional

560 m2

Date of design

Date of completion

Project team
Wiel Arets, Bettina Kraus, Lars Dreessen


Palte BV, Huygen Installatieadviseurs BV, Xhonneux BV, Cauberg-Huygen Raadgevende Ingenieurs BV