Phone: +32 (3) 485 82 80 Contact Form

Julianus Tongeren

Tensile structure over the courtyard of a former monastery

Literally balancing between art, design and architecture, searching the extremities of materials, static design and adequate forms, this sail sculpture spans it’s huge wings like a dynamic bird or dragon above the courtyard of the former monastery in Tongeren (Belgium).

Award Winning Project

This sail sculpture got silver at the International Design Awards 2013 at Los Angeles, CA. The International Design Awards exist to celebrate the world’s most visionary designers, discover new and emerging talent, and promote the appreciation of design worldwide. Architects and designers from over 65 countries throughout the world submitted entries. This unique project created by The Nomad Concept was awarded: Second Prize/Silver.

  • Year of completion: 2008
  • Location: Tongeren (Belgium)
  • Advanced Engineering Technique
  • Material: heavy duty PTFE
  • Main dimensions: 37m long, 37m wide, 19m high (irregular form)

Innovative Solution

A large free-span structure of 37m x 37 is supported by 3 flying masts of each 17meter high, balancing on stainless steel wires. No mast touches the ground to keep the free space of the courtyard.

The materials are precious and carefully chosen: pure PTFE with a high translucency and high quality stainless steel, to guarantee a life expectancy of 30 years and more.

Design Approach

This sail sculpture spans it’s huge wings like a dynamic bird or dragon above the courtyard of the former monastery in Tongeren (Belgium).

A ‘beak’ snaps to the pond and solitary tree in the courtyard. Because of the dramatic sculptural effect of this membrane, the architect calls his realization “sail sculpture”.

The membrane in Tongeren is realized in PTFE with a translucency of 40%. Under the grey and often dark sky of the low lands as Belgium, architecture has to be as translucent as possible.

Julianius Tongeren, copyright Robert De Wilde, photographer
The main sketch idea: a dynamic dragon flying over the old maonastery and picking to the pond and tree with his beak (sketch by arch. Eva Lapage)
The patterns of the tensile structure


Not only the design and engineering, but also the installation has been a real challenge.


Installation of this huge tensile structure over an existing historic building is a challenge

Share This Project

Logo Nomad Concept

The Nomad Concept is a Belgium-based studio practice focused on tensile and lightweight architecture. From our inception in 2000, we have delivered exceptional private, corporate and public projects.
As a full-service firm, The Nomad Concept is present on projects from start to finish, ensuring that the ideas conceived in the beginning with clients are manifest at the end. .

Sail Sculpture Private Villa France
The Nomad Concept - sail above roof terrace Willemstad (Curaçao)
Zoutleeuw, sail sculpture by The Nomad Concept
Sail sculpture 'The Pretty Wilderness' - Rozebroeken Ghent

Koning Leopoldlaan 9A
2870 Puurs-Sint-Amands

T. +32 (3) 485 82 80 Contact us