Ireland in Europe

The Irish College

The Irish College in Louvain was founded as a centre of learning for Irish scholars. Exiled from their native land following the breakdown of Gaelic society in the early 17th century, embarked on a mission to preserve vernacular culture.

​To celebrate its 400th anniversary, an ambitious programme of refurbishment was undertaken, including the development of site-wide interpretation.

The design approach has been informed by the manuscripts and printed books produced at Louvain, and incorporates a study of the famous Louvain typeface which was for centuries the standard Irish language font. Minimalist etched-glass installations, lit from within, carry text, images and interactive devices.

​A trail of text and image winds through the building drawing attention to the historical fabric from the original foundation stone to the joiner’s marks in the wooden beams.

Displays are enriched through interventions commissioned from contemporary Irish artists which, responding to the resonances of the building and its history, extend the interpretation into the realm of the emotional and the intangible.

Project type

Heritage / Visitor Attraction

Scope of works

  • Interpretative Planning
  • Exhibition Design and Creative Direction
  • Graphic Design
  • Design and Construct


Louvain, Belgium



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