Promoting talent: RALF SCHMITZ supports the Bruges Summer School of Architecture & Crafts

10. August 2023

Classic beauty has good friends: Founded in Belgium, La Table Ronde de l’Architecture is a non-profit association dedicated to protecting and teaching beautiful, humane and sustainable architecture and related crafts. This includes providing for the future: As such, the organization hosts the annual Bruges Summer School – a multi-week project that allows highly motivated high school and college students to architecturally survey the historic buildings of the city of Bruges, gain deep insights into history and style, and incorporate the experience gained into their own designs. Under the patronage of the well-known Belgian architect Léon Krier, who has been dedicated to the protection of urban aesthetics for decades, RALF SCHMITZ is supporting the promotion of young talents at the Summer School, in addition to other sponsors and members of Table Ronde.

Ralf Schmitz (right) with the renowned Belgian architect Léon Krier

On July 29, 2023, the organization invited both sponsors and other interested parties to the historic Bellem Castle near Bruges, whose premises house the Summer School, for a presentation of the results. Thanks to the impressive location and excellent organization, not even the occasional rain marred the summer celebration.

About 15 of the students presented their work to the jury and invited guests in the halls of the castle. These were projects that could all be realized in the city of Bruges: Three sites within the city had been selected for their poor building substance or lack of aesthetics, such as a hotel and an art school. In supervised analysis and research, the participants had developed well thought-out alternatives for these locations. Particularly impressive: Many of the young people had only been studying for a few months or not at all, but were already able to present astonishing designs – even challenging perspective drawings had been dared and a good implementation achieved.


As a member of the jury, company founder Ralf Schmitz had the pleasant opportunity to meet our sponsored participant Alexander Peacock, an 18-year-old architecture student from Ireland, and to follow the presentation of his project. There was also ample time for conversations with other jury members such as the patron Léon Krier – following the presentations, a joint lunch and a small classical concert rounded off the successful event before the jury convened in the evening.

The concept and implementation of the annual seminar are exemplary, Ralf Schmitz summarizes: “The Summer School in Bruges gives young people the opportunity to find out in a short time whether architecture is their vocation. In the company of dedicated fellow students and professors, surrounded by the inspiring city of Bruges, they can focus entirely on this work for four weeks and devote themselves to exploring their passion.”

It was already clear from many of the presenters that they had great talent, he says: “If we were an architecture firm, we would certainly keep a very watchful eye on the young talent here,” smiles Schmitz. Another great aspect: “People from a wide variety of countries come together here – like from India, Italy, Spain and Ireland. It’s wonderfully enriching for young people to meet like-minded colleagues from all over the world on an occasion like this.” A good cause all round, and one that his company is happy to support.

Alexander Peacock presents his works created during the Summer School

Ralf Schmitz Bruges Summer School of Architecture & Craft