001 Town hall Kortrijk

Renovation and reorganisation of an existing bank building

Procedure Architecture competition
Client City Kortrijk
Surface 10 000m2
Phase completed
Date 2001 – 2005

Kortrijk town council bought a 1970s bank building next to the historical town hall with the intention of housing its administrative services there. This large building has several facades, but no characteristic face of its own. It has a hall area of 2000 m² without natural light with a small tower above it. There is no contact at all between the hall and the town itself.

The false floors, wood-look walls and plastic ceiling slats were removed to reveal an elegant concrete skeleton that had been cast in situ in a formwork of rough planks. The builder had left his mark quite clearly and the intensive building process was immediately palpable. Once the interior had thus been stripped back, the most important step – the liberation of the architecture – was already complete. The facades were opened up where possible. Openings were made in the flat roof and greenhouses were mounted over them, so that natural light can now enter. A green roof has been planted.

Large furniture-objects shape the interior and colours were added to provide orientation, while the domestic-style furnishing gives the hundred work-stations an optimistic feel.

A new, third entrance was added, giving access to the historical town hall and the Market Square. This makes the large hall part of the public urban space, a covered market for the provision of services, a public interior that people who have no administrative business are also happy to make use of.