The restoration was combined with works that adapted the building complex to its new function. This included renovation, climate regulation and security for the three altarpieces that were returned to their original place, the Augustine cycle, and other art works.The renovation was an excellent opportunity to conduct archeological research. Several interesting discoveries were made. The building and restoration project was divided in three different phases. The first phase was comprised of renovating the interior of the buildings on Everdijstraat, acoustic glazing of the church windows and conducting scientific research of the church’s interior. After that came the restoration of artworks, woodwork and murals.
The renovated buildings – that can be reached via 12 Everdijstraat – temporarily offer space for offices, one finance office, and a restroom. The splendid stained glass was repaired and fitted into new wooden frames with double glass, and the façade was cleaned.
On the outside of the church, soundproofing windows were installed. They are made as follows: A metal frame is fitted over the original window frame. Within this metal frame fits a very thick glass panel coated with a special acoustic foil. Together with the stained glass and the existing soundproofing windows from the 1970s, these combined layers of glass form a triple glass system with air vents. This guarantees that traffic noise will not penetrate the church walls.
The materials used in the interior of the church were examined in the summer of 1999. The finishing layers of the central vault were studied in depth, specifically on the image groups in the arched alcoves, the arches, and the pillars. At the same time a study was conducted in regard to the finishing layers of the gate and the Augustine altar in the northernmost aisle, the wainscots at the height of the nave and the choir, and the wainscots on the doors in the choir. Finally, the pedestals on the altars were renovated.
The following was deduced from the study: All the statues and arched niches had been covered in monochrome layers of chalk. The backgrounds of the medallions were covered with layers of black chalk. Only a few attributes had originally been finished with polychrome layers.
On the rosettes, which each differ from each other, they discovered beneath the present gilded layer only layers of white chalk. This does not mean however that they were never gilded in the first place. On the pillars, the arches with keystone, and the capital, they found vague remnants of a khaki grey layer.
The doorframe beneath the northern vault showed successive layers of imitation marble. The visible layer of white marble imitation on the side altar with a black frame around it and other visible layers are similar to other layers of paint found in the church. Because of the few layers of paint found on the altar we can conclude that this is a recent addition to the church. The main altar has more finishing layers than the wainscot, the cornice and other parts of the choir.
A second study focused on the walls and arches. On the walls of the side aisle we can find under the present yellow finishing layer a brown wood imitation which possibly continues behind all of the wall covering. The same wood imitation was found on all the parts of the portal. The wall above the cornice of the aisle does not hide any older layers, only a white plaster finish. The surface of these walls had at one time been covered with the sixteen paintings of the Saint Augustine cycle (these paintings returned to their original place in the central aisle after restoration. The cycle had been designed especially for this spot.).
The choir vault of 1718 and the vault of the nave (1721) do not only have different stucco ornaments but also have a different color of finishing layer. Except for the penultimate layer, the profiles, mirror surfaces and wall surfaces of the nave arch had always been painted in the same color. On the choir arch less paint layers have been found. In the oldest finishing paint layer there is a difference in tint between the profiles and the mirror surfaces. The stars in the medallions had originally been gilded.
The conclusions from this scientific study of the materials used are used in the restoration.
Before the beginning of the third phase the flat and sloped roofs of the winter chapel and the annexes had been renovated. The sloped surfaces were covered with natural slate. Moreover, the outer walls were cleaned thoroughly and equipped with smooth façade plaster.
Another aspect of the second phase was placing a double insulated floor on the nave arch, in other words the attic of the church. Together with the soundproofing windows, this aspect contributes to the acoustic insulation of the concert hall.
The third phase partially consisted of building with new material, and partially of redesigning. The new building consists of an entrance hall for the public in the Kammenstraat, an artist entrance and guestrooms on the side of the police tower, an extension of the foyer beside the winter chapel, the redesigning of the chapel basement as bathroom for visitors, and a technical space. The redesigning focused especially on the church interior, the Holy Sacrament and the winter chapel. Several annexes have been redesigned slightly.
Under the church floor, floor heating and central heating have been installed. The floor had been removed temporarily, and while it was gone archeologists took the opportunity to examine the area (see further down). The church is equipped with removable chairs and a removable podium. This allows for flexible use of the area.
The public, which enters via the new building on 81 Kammenstraat, reaches the concert hall via the foyer. Between the hall and the foyer there is a small space with doors on each side to stop the sound from entering the hall. The church doors will be automated for practical reasons.
The original main entrance on the Kammenstraat will be the emergency exit and can be used as a second exit during big events. The portal in the northern aisle is an emergency exit as well, but this one exits in the Everdijstraat.
The restored Holy Sacrament on the ground floor is now a green room and rehearsal space for the musicians. It is easily accessible from the guestrooms and the artist’s entrance.
The stairs behind the Holy Sacrament and the entrance at 14 Everdijstraat remain preserved. They are used by the church’s technical staff and radio workers, for music for CD or radio can be recorded in the studio on the first floor.
On the first floor beside the recording studio and the offices are a kitchen and a conference room. The previously mentioned staircase was extended to the second floor above the Holy Sacrament. The attic serves as a technical area.
On the side of the police tower there is a new building. It contains an artist and delivery entrance on the ground floor, as well as the White salon, a space used for concert introductions. On the first floor there is an accommodation for the artists. Above the guestrooms is a technical space for boilers and cooling equipment.
A completely new building was erected on 81 Kammenstraat. This is where the public entrance is located. The ground floor of this building has a sloping floor to accommodate the different floor levels of the winter chapel. This makes the foyer and concert hall easily accessible for people in wheelchairs. The vestibule ‘floats’ as a separate area in the entrance hall. The ticket sales and reception are at the front. The areas above are designed as extra offices.
What had been the winter chapel is now the foyer of AMUZ. The climate control of this space, just like in the church, is achieved by using forced air. This is not that new since the chapel was originally heated by a coal boiler in the basement from which hot air was forced up through grids in the floor.
The evening coordinator uses areas on several floors. The kitchen, the storage areas, and the office can be found around the foyer and on several different floors. The kitchen connects to the foyer counter. There is easy access to the storage area of the drinks via the delivery entrance. The counter has been built around the communion pews and the altar.
The public restroom is located in the basement under the foyer, but wheelchair users have access to a toilet on the main floor.
A new staircase connects the kitchen and VIP area for the artists on the ground floor, a preparation area for receptions on the first floor, and a staff room above.
The restoration of the murals in the winter chapel, the ceiling, the altars, and the wood work and art work in the church was completed in several phases from 2009 onwards.
Thanks to all these works the winter chapel now has her Neo-Byzantine look back. The murals were restored and fixated selectively. The areas where repetitive abstract motives were missing were repaired. Missing elements in non-repetitive images were filled in with color surface suggestives of the original shape.
The design and finishing of the church was done in the original baroque style. The ornaments and art work give the area a feeling of sacredness as originally intended. The first part of this renovation took place in spring 2009. The ceiling was restored, as well as the walls above the cornice. The high altar was also restored, at which earlier marble imitations were exposed again.
The central aisle was finished in a monochrome light color. The choice was based on the scientific research of used materials mentioned before. The statues that had a polychrome finish preserved their colorfulness. The gilding on ornaments was exposed and restored. Doors and other woodwork were restored, the side aisles were finished in the same style as the central aisle. The marble and wood imitations on the altars and porches were preserved. The pillars, frames and the capital received a new layer of chalk finish. Likewise, the restoration options for the altars, confession chairs, etc were based on the scientific research mentioned before. Where necessary, parts that were painted over were removed to re-expose earlier marble or wood imitations, to restore the 19th century colour scheme.
The baptismal chapel was preserved as well as the pulpit of Hendrik Frans Verbruggen. It stays in its original place, even though it limits the number of seats in the concert hall.