All projects
Houtmarkt · Kortrijk, Belgium

From parking to green city square


Two parks are located at the border of the historical city centre of Kortrijk : Beginhof and Stadspark. In between, the Houtmarkt was an urban space without quality, mainly used as a car park for surroundings institutions and visitors of the centre. We have created a design for the square that could form the missing link between the existing parks in the surroundings, revealing its historical significance. A square that offers an inviting place to stay for the citizens and visitors of Kortrijk.

Kortrijk, Belgium
2012 - 2016
Project area
1,5 ha
Stad Kortrijk
Photography credits
Pierre Marchevet

A sequences of projects for the neighbourhood

The Houtmarkt in Kortrijk is a comprehensive project comprising of three subprojects: the demolition and new construction of the residential care centre St. Vincent, the construction of an underground parking garage with 160 spaces, and the reconstruction of the Houtmarkt and Lange Brugstraat. These subprojects have different clients, including the City of Kortrijk, Parko agb, and St. Vincent. By removing the cars out of sight, the project joins an expanding pedestrian network of public spaces in the historical centre.


Creating an inviting city square

The Houtmarkt holds a fascinating position as part of the edge of the 17th-century city centre, while elements in the surroundings exhibit the distinct features of the 19th-century belt. The design concept draws from this historical stratification to create a high-quality, attractive, and liveable city square for the 21st century. The plan emphasizes a harmonious interaction between the monumental buildings and facades surrounding the square and the central open space. The structures of the parking garage have been carefully integrated within the square. Within the green planters two integrated glass pavilions and the access ramps allow users of the parking to reach their cars.

Creator of meaningful places

Particular attention has been given to create an inviting space for walking by, pausing and creating encounters to foster urban life and social interaction. A central lawn framed by long seating edges forms an informal playfield for students and children and allows for the organisation of small events. The large planting borders on the edges of the square creates an ever-changing seasonal effect. In the South-West section of the square, the terrace of the existing café has been expanded on to the square creating a flexible podium.

Creator of meaningful places

A place for discovery and relaxation

The result is an inviting and appealing meeting space within the inner-city fabric. The green elements incorporated into the Houtmarkt establish a connection to the adjacent green belt, including Het Plein and the Begijnhofpark. This square serves as both a front garden for the local residents and a welcoming access point to the historic city centre, making it a valuable addition to the urban landscape.


Discover other projects