Turnhout, Steenweg op Mol 66
It’s funny how sometimes everything comes together. More than 10 years ago I followed the first year tourist guide in Turnhout. Every time I passed a very beautiful building. At that time I didn’t know it were actually 2 houses. Years later I read that Turnhout is looking for guides for architectural tours. These were organized by AR-TUR. I received more information about the buildings of the Turnhout School and about this house. A fascinating family story.
Jozef Schellekens was the son of a furniture maker. Joseph was supposed to work for his father, but his drawing talent was discovered early on. Jules Taeymans, then a provincial architect, offered him a job. In the meantime, he continued to study architecture at the Academy of Antwerp. He gets married, has several children and graduates in 1937. In the same year he is officially appointed as a provincial architect, as a successor to Taeymans. His best-known works are the Open Air Theater of the Rivierenhof and a building for the Zilvermeer.
In 1936 he designs his own house. Together with Theo Op de Beeck, a teacher, painter and actor; he buys a land in Turnhout. Joseph was inspired by the New Objectivity and brick modernism. The flat-roofed dwelling did not appeal to the locals. A design is known from him that he wanted to renovate the house. The solarium above the garage would become an extra bedroom and a sloping roof was added. Fortunately, these works were not performed, but he hid the house. It was covered with ivy for years. Inside there is an extra floor in the void at the front of the house. Paintings by Jozef Schellekens can be seen in various places in the house. He had a passion for painting.
Jozef Schellekens died fairly early, at the age of 54, in 1963. His second wife continued to live in the house until 2006. It was purchased by the architectural firm AIM, of which the grandson of Jozef Schellekens is co-owner. Color research was done to bring the house back to its original state. In 2012 it was finisched and it can be visited.
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