a collaboration with Lllabo
The practice of contemporary architecture is faced by incisive changes and has to adapt to new global conditions. Our team is placed in two distant localities, Kortrijk and Tokyo, an architecture practice and an architectural research lab. With architecture as our common ground and tool of communication, we are deeply motivated and interested in making places for this generation of unlimited diversity, connections and relations.
Under the Eurometropole structure the city of Kortrijk is already engaged in abolishing the political and administrative territorial obstacles in order to make full use of its geographic location and cultural diversity. Deeply assured that trans-border cooperation can only benefit the lives of its inhabitants. As a collaborative team from Kortrijk and Tokyo, we propose to add a new layer of connectivity to Kortrijk’s urban fabric. We see in Kortrijk’s transformation the starting point for cross-pollination with Tokyo’s comparable urban structure.
Not afraid of experimenting and unprecedented projects, the city opened its grounds to the innovations and sensitivities of internationally acclaimed designers, architects, landscape architects, engineers and more. Putting its trust in their competences to not only embellish the city but to participate actively in making Kortrijk an attractive city where people are free to do their thing: live, work, do business, visit, spend time, etc.
Kortrijk embraces the creative, transnational, networking society of the 21st century and carries an entrepreneurial and forward-thinking spirit in its DNA. We too believe in this spirit.
The physical structure of the city is permeated by a network of parks and gardens. Like green pockets interlaced with the city’s built environment, the city appears to us as a porous entity allowing people to stroll, relax and enjoy leisure activities. This porous character became the motor for our architectural proposal.
Situated at the cross-point of a green axis along the Leie river and an axis of historical monuments, the Broelkant site needs to respond to the flows passing around it.
Aside from the proximity to important historic landmarks of the city we believe that to activate a housing project of this scale, the call for interconnectedness with the public realm is important to the liveliness of the design.
At the scale of a city block, we observed another facet of Kortrijk’s urban porosity: the accessibility to the heart of the block and the value of its semiprivate spaces.
HYBRIDIZED CITY BLOCKS
The porous urban fabric of Kortrijk is also a typical aspect of Tokyo's urban fabric. Through a comparative study we ascertained that Kortrijk’s fabric holds valuable assets especially for pedestrians and other non-motorised transport.
The masterplan proposes a denser site which makes the new development far more sustainable on a macro scale. The densification of the urban fabric leads to the preservation of open space and the optimal deployment of infrastructure. It contributes to more urbanity, which benefits both the quality of the project and that of its environment.
By closing the passage for cars across the Broel Bridge, the open space seamlessly connects to the new public domain along the river banks in accordance with to Michel Desvigne's masterplan. This creates a continuous car-free zone.
The housing units are characterised by large terraces and two-storey green patios which seeks to visually carry the greenery into the room and create a buffer between the house and the public realm.