The buildings at the corner of the Gravenstraat and the Mrg. Wulfinghstraat are part of the premises of the Roman Catholic church that start at the Bishop’s residence in the Gravenstraat and continue as far as the cathedral. In the rear it borders the Sommelsdijckse creek. The depth is best to be seen in the de Mgr. Wulfinghstraat which intersects the area.
For convenience’s sake we treat these buildings in this page called Gravenstraat 16-18, while there are far more buildings on the premises, including more recent ones.
Both buildings are 7 bays wide and 4 deep, albeit that at #16 bays 3 and 5 are narrow. The double doors in the centre have an elegant arch and on top of that a double skylight. Leading towards them are wide stoops of 3 steps. In the centre of the upper floor there are niches holding a statue of Holy Mary. In the rear of the buildings open galleries run along the full length. The stoop of 5 steps leading to the gallery of #16 is topped by a roof with a slight break, that rests on pillars with a brick lower half. The gallery of #18 is constructed on a brick foundation ring, that of #16 rests on dies.
Number 16 has a dormer at the front with two windows. In the front and to the sides #18 features a dormer with a slight break, with 3 windows and a semi-circular skylight on top. The rear has 3 dormers with respectively 1, 3 and 1 window.
The area includes various schools, a boarding school and a church (recently built). The feeling that lingers is one of years long gone by; one wonders if that is a good condition for contemporary, modern education.
The two buildings #16 and #18 have been renovated starting in 2000 respectively 2007. But in the top picture dating from 2009 one can see that at #16 some façade boards had to be replaced. Most likely that is the result of bad construction, on which are the seems between the boards are sealed with low quality stopper. This causes an accumulation of moist behind the boards.
This effect can be seen at # 18, where the sealing between the boards actually lets loose. Another reason could be that the original width of façade boards demands trees with huge trunks of which only the centre part should be used. Probably too much wood of lesser quality out of the outer growth rings is used. Also, when repairs take place just a part of a board is replaced, instead of a complete length. In this way the construction gets more joints with end grain that are more prone to rot and the construction becomes weaker.
Details from 2009
Situation in 2000
Gravenstraat 18 in 2007 and in 2009