WT 2022/23 | The "Barokgang" of Scherpenheuvel

  stone mapping of the Baroque Corridor of the Scherpenheuvel pilgrimage church Copyright: © Research Team Scherpenheuvel

The "Barokgang" of Scherpenheuvel – An architectural-historical Study and typological Classification

Master's Thesis by Anina Janich

Within the Belgian Marian pilgrimage site of Scherpenheuvel, an initially inconspicuous-looking roofed connecting passageway extends between the imposing domed church with its monumental tower building attached to the east and the now dilapidated former monastery building. It seems to grow out of the sloping "pointed hill" – the "scherpen heuvel" – with increasing distance from the church and only fully reveals its façade to bridge a small ring road shortly before its connection to the monastery.

The passage, which is called "Barokgang" in the linguistic usage of the Flemish Scherpenheuvel, is part of the structural ensemble of the heptagonal ideal city complex of the Spanish archdukes Albrecht and Isabella, which was founded at the beginning of the 17th century.

Until now, little is known about its structural genesis. This master's thesis studied the structure as part of the DFG-funded research project "Scherpenheuvel. Church and City in a Heptagon", documented and described the building for the first time using the methods of historical building research and analyzed it with regard to potential reconstruction hypotheses.

Within the work, among other things, various questions raised by the assumption of a formerly elevated site are discussed. Based on a stone-by-stone mapping, which was photogrammetrically created using the Structure-from-Motion method, anomalies in the façade surface, the jointing and the construction could be revealed. Based on this evidence, it was possible to reconstruct a possible former terrain course as well as two lateral extensions and a cenital lighting situation. In doing so, traces on the building itself as well as historical image sources were consulted.

In addition, an atmospheric reconstruction was carried out to make it possible to experience striding through the passageway. The question of the intended use and the design concept of the room, which is surprisingly heavily ornamented and furnished to a high standard for a pure connecting corridor, was also examined.

This was followed by a historical contextualization of the "Barokgang" with regard to its typological characteristics in relation to contemporary stately corridor and access systems, taking into account comparable buildings that are relevant to architectural history and would have been familiar to the archduke and his wife.

Further information on the research project "Scherpenheuvel. Church and City in a Heptagon" can be found here.


Reconstructed lighting situation of the Baroque Corridor



Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Anke Naujokat (Examination)
Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Christian Raabe (Co-Examination)
Sara Dolls M.A.