Transforming a stiff, unyielding medieval castle into a dynamic family home: that was the challenge that Gert Voorjans faced in the Bavarian town of Coburg. The commission was anything but obvious: the moated castle had in no way been renovated to current standards of residential convenience. The oldest section of the castle dates back as far as the 13th century. However, various ad-hoc adaptations and expansions that continued well into the 20th century had left the property an eclectic hodge-podge of architectural styles.
Historically speaking, these castles were never intended for permanent occupation. Voorjans completely reversed that historical situation, transforming the structure into a completely habitable chateau for the first time in history. Although the owners divide their time between homes in Coburg, Shanghai, and Los Angeles, they could occupy the castle full-time at any given moment. The stronghold is fully ready for permanent residence and functions more like a comfortable family castle than a strict and forbidding fortress. The transformation demanded an exceptionally thorough and coherent overhaul. Tailoring his design to the people who would live there, the location’s history, and cutting-edge residential comfort, Voorjans came up with an inventive approach for the stately schloss. He added a dash of humour, imagination, and perspective, softening the rigid structures of the fortress.
Photography: Tim Van de Velde | Text: Gert Voorjans & Thijs Demeulemeester