an open architects’ partnership

The partnership ‘Architects in Motion’ is an open association.

AIM is a flexible, horizontally structured group of architects-specialists, who pool their knowhow and offer an environment in which young and talented architects can realise their ambition. As a result, the AIM architect can operate with efficiency, as the conductor and inspirer of his own architecture. This concept gives the individual architect room to design in an exploratory way, with a critical outlook on the rapidly evolving world of construction. That is the ‘AIM’ of Architects in Motion.

This dynamic partnership between architectural partners Bart Janssens and Luc Vanhout was extended in 2004 and 2005, respectively with senior partners architect Peter Mertens and architect Fréderic Wattecamps. ln 2009, the partnership was furthermore extended to include 4 junior partners, the architects Katrien Donneux, Mieke Goris, Ann Geudens and master in engineering-architect Paul Monden.

This partnership grew from the architectural bureau Atelier Vanhout & Ass. The story of Atelier Vanhout & Ass. starts in 1955, with architect Carli Vanhout. Starting in 1964 an intensive partnership began between brothers-in-law and architects Carli Vanhout and Paul Schellekens, the latter being the son of Provincial architect Jozef Schellekens.

ln 1986 Paul Schellekens was appointed professor of architecture at the ‘Artesis Hogeschool Antwerpen’ (Artesis College of Higher Education Antwerp’), bringing the 20-year partnership to an end. Since then, the architectural bureau has been co-developed by architect Luc Vanhout, son of Carli Vanhout.

In 2002, the architects Bart Janssens and Luc Vanhout found each other in the same belief, and together they worked on the development of ‘the architectural bureau of the future’.

a new generation a new name

To the idea and driven by Bart Janssens, a new name was created for the partnership: Architects in Motion. The name highlights the dynamism of the partnership and refers to its contemporary vision of the architects’ profession. ‘Aiming’ or striving for harmonious and integrated architecture requires architects to maintain a forever exploratory and innovative outlook.

Architects in Motion ‘AIMs’, aspires.

The partnership consists of 35 employees, including 28 designers (architects, architectural engineers, urban planners, interior designers, architect-assistants), representing a mix of ages, experience and expertise. In addition, the partnership daily appeals to twenty full-time equivalents through external collaboration with stability engineers, technical systems, acoustics and other specialists.

Collaborating in a construction team has been a habit for decades, for both private and public assignments. The projects cover a wide panopticon of fields and typologies, still with private single family homes fully taken to task, including interior and landscaping.

This way AIM wants to preclude rigidity, to break dullness and automatism, and assumes a creative interaction between typologies. The partnership is organized into working groups that are led by one of the partners.

The two partners are especially concerned about the visioning, designing, direction, support and composition of the multidisciplinary teams. They also judge a critical office size essential to cope with the rapid evolution of technology, legislation and changes in other segments of the profession. 

For their approach Bart Janssens and Luc Vanhout confide strongly in the knowledge and social rhizome model of French philosopher Gilles Deleuze and French psychiatrist Félix Guattari.  “A rhizome, the underground root system of a plant, is an endless branching without beginning or end, to which you can assign new inputs and outputs again and again, and that has no weak spots where it could be put out of action in one cut.” This concept can be applied to everything. To the development of an architectural partnership for example, where it must be possible to absorb the loss of one partner by a structure in which partners can easily step in and out.


Atelier Vanhout - Schellekens & Ass. (1964 - 1986)

The inspirers of Atelier Vanhout - Schellekens & Ass. are the architects Carli Vanhout (1931-2000) and Paul Schellekens (1939). Between 1964 and 1986, this architectural bureau was to leave its mark on modernistic architecture.

The innovative architecture of the brothers-in-law Carli Vanhout and Paul Schellekens, resulted in the private residence and architecture practice with Carli Vanhout’s architect studio (1963), the St. Victor’s Institute (1964) in collaboration with Jansen–Schiltz, the (Municipal) Cultural Centre De Warande (1965) in collaboration with E. Wouters, the Convent of the Poor Clares (1967) and the Hospital St. Jozef (1980) in collaboration with Emiel Van Loven.

Typical are the expressive and straightforward character, the use of raw materials as well as the solid construction of autonomous structures. Atelier Vanhout-Schellekens & Ass offers continuity to the modernism of the interwar period.

In the 1930s, the architect Jozef Schellekens, who was the father of Paul Schellekens, was a key protagonist in what was known as ‘the new construction’. Atelier Vanhout-Schellekens & Ass carries the modernism of the 60s and 70s in the region to a climax.

ln 1966, architect Paul Schellekens receives the “Rome Prize in architecture” for his competition entry design of the SHAPE site in Casteau. Carli Vanhout and Paul Schellekens unite with architects Paul Neefs (1933) and Lou Jansen (1935), meanwhile recognized widely as ‘The Turnhout School’.

Architect Carli Vanhout

Architect Carli Vanhout

Architect Paul Schellekens

Architect Paul Schellekens

Residence and office Carli Vanhout - 1963

Jozef Schellekens (1909 - 1963)

Jozef Schellekens, who was the son of a carpenter, was the father of architect professor Paul Schellekens and grandfather of architect Luc Vanhout.

Jozef Schellekens was apprenticed to the former architect of the region Jules Taeymans as a draftsman, where he was given the opportunity to study architecture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp. 

After his studies, he supported the modernist style. ln 1934, Jozef Schellekens designed the modernistic dual residence Schellekens -
Op de Beeck.

This house has a crisp design with an innovative and spacious layout. With its sober composition of cubist brick shapes, the property has characteristic metalwork windows which run over two floors.

ln 1937, Jozef Schellekens was appointed provincial architect of the Province of Antwerp for the District of Turnhout.

ln this role, he designed many public buildings (schools and town halls). He also supervises various restorations during the post war period.

As provincial architect, Jozef Schellekens continued to work with the austere, modern design style of the time. ln 1954, he designed the open-air theatre of the Rivierenhof in Deurne and in 1958, the recreation site at the Zilvermeer in Mol, which was later renovated by Paul Schellekens in collaboration with Atelier Vanhout. 

Architect Jozef Schellekens was also an artist painter and published several works on urban planning.