Architecture Workroom

Atelier Kortrijk 2025— Innovative urban development strategy

The City of Kortrijk appointed AWB, together with Tractebel, Wim Rasschaert Advocaten, Michiel Dehaene and 51N4E, to devise an innovative urban development strategy. How can Kortrijk, taking its position in South-west Flanders as well as in Flanders into account, cope in a positive way with the mismatch between demographic evolutions and the supply and development of housing? This requires a clear and supported strategy, which continues to build on the dynamic that characterises Kortrijk, as well as the City's spatial qualities. It is necessary to rethink and reposition these qualities in an unambiguous framework, to provide the abundance of options with direction, and develop an overarching vision. One thing that's certain is that Kortrijk will look different in the future; it’s now time to decide how.

It is obvious that existing planning and legal practices at the level of Flanders and Kortrijk will not respond to the needs of the future. The falling demand for housing requires a serious revamp of the existing approach. This means that redevelopment issues related to large sites such as hospitals, schools, empty businesses, as well as villas, offer major opportunities for the city on the one hand, but evoke programmatic issues on the other. Stagnating population figures also produce stagnating programmatic needs. First and foremost, the City has to make choices: what sites do we still want to develop? Where do we want to restore open space? Which sites do we deliberately keep open? What do we do with business sites that are becoming vacant? Is there a sufficient need for functions to justify developing appropriate interpretations?

If the current dynamic and confetti of options continue, this will increase the mismatch between supply and demand. It entails rising social costs and further hampers the City's competitive position in the Region and the Province. Moreover, supply in accordance with the ‘business as usual’ approach is not entirely consistent with the projects that are being implemented or developed. In other words: the 'confetti model' focused on further parcelling is not an overtly convincing project.

Should Kortrijk compare itself instead with cities like Antwerp and Ghent? With urban development that focuses on intense densification? Is this the intensity for which Kortrijk should strive? It is evident that neither the parcelling option nor the intensity of cities will offer a solution for the issues facing Kortrijk. Lastly, it is not about offering a home and work quality that exists everywhere, which is generic. It does not concern combining functions using as little surface area as possible to be a 'city' in as many respects as possible. So what does it involve?

Kortrijk has different qualities that are not found in other cities or developments. The banks of the River Leie, both relaxation area and natural infrastructure, are a prime example of this. It is a space where new developments can emerge, without enforcing certain typologies. It generates a hybrid between existing 19th century districts, residential districts and new high-rise buildings. This hybrid is precisely what affords it quality. A new dynamic is being created and on the economic level there is also room for initiative, catering establishments and commercial functions. In recent years, not only has it proven to be a resilient project, but also that it offers considerable room for initiative and produces quality. It is an illustration of what Kortrijk could be, if it continues to focus on its unique characteristics. This is achieved using three concepts of the city:

a) The city as an atelier

b) Kortrijk landscapes

c) Connected and caring neighbourhoods

Each concept is based on the local embedded qualities, to develop a vision tailor-made for Kortrijk. The historic interwovenness with businesses, landscapes that stretch far into the centre, and the options for residential and living areas are existing aspects that distinguish Kortrijk from other cities and form the basis for these concepts. This means that existing qualities and not external projections constitute the foundation.

The City established the participative process Kortrijk 2025 in relation to this study. Urban debates are being organised as part of it. The first debates will be held on 9 March and 19 April. For more info:


Designing The Future— series of debates
Atelier Brussels— Masterclasses
Atelier Brussels— Lectures Structure and Stimulus
Atelier Brussels— Urban Walks
Antwerp— Study to map the livability of neighbourhoods
Atelier Brussels— Expo A Good City Has Industry
Spoor Oost— Urban Renewal Project
City of Bruges— Week of the City
Zeebrugge Revitalisation— Urban Renewal Project
Torhout— experiential and identity study
Launch OASE 96 Social Poetics— The Architecture of Use and Appropriation
From cure to care— transitions in the healthy city of Utrecht
Atelier Brussels— Urban Meeting IABR
Urban Meeting Bozar— The Productive Metropolis
Imagine Europe— Bozar
Atelier Brussels— The Productive Metropolis
Call for design teams— Atelier Brussels The Productive Metropolis
Development strategy— Ostend Eastern Shore
Review of spatial structure plan— Bruges City
The City as Factory— Buda Workroom
Colloquium — Architecture in Belgium and Turkey: Changing practices
Architecture Culture Platform
Ghent Muide-Meulestede
IABR 2016 — Atelier Utrecht: The Healthy City
Publication—Reweaving the Urban Carpet
Eurodelta 2030 - 2100
Eurometropolitan Blue Space
Atelier— Productive BXL
Atelier de Stad— Brussels
Lecture — Mark Brearley
Festival Kanal Play Ground
Metropolitan Coast Landscape 2100
IABR 2014 Urban by Nature— Atelier Brabantstad
Exploration of the Future of Flemish Land Company (VLM)
Productive Space By Design— conference
Strategic vision— Kern Rechteroever in Aalst
Strategic exploration— pilot projects productive landscape
Atelier— In Between
Atelier à Habiter— Exhibition
Preparatory workshop— development plan for Sidaplax in Ghent
Atelier De Stad Brussels— Kanal Play Ground
International Atelier— Eurometropolis
Expert advice— 'Nieuw Gent'
Preparatory workshop— housing development plan in Kapellen
Publication—The Ambition of the Territory
Symposium—Naar een gedeelde ontwerpagenda voor Vlaanderen
Vlaanderen als Ontwerp— Atelier
The Ambition of the Territory— deSingel International Arts Campus
Lecture—Carolyn Steel - The Hungry City
Changing Cultures of Planning— Rotterdam, Zürich, Nantes, Randstad, Bordeaux
Towards a Visionary Housing Production in Flanders
Guide plan—Brussels canal
The Ambition of the Territory—Belgian Pavilion Venice 2012
Making City—5th International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam
Project definition—new prison in Haren
Building for Brussels— Architecture and urban transformation in Europe
Making City—Atelier Istanbul
G A R D E N— Parckdesign 2012
Open House Brussels—debates and artistic parcours
Exhibition—Making City
Exploring the metropolitan condition
The Next Economy— Belgium at The International Architecture Biennale 2016
Master Class—120% Brussels
City Trajectory—Brussels Canal
Program—Building For Brussels
Exhibition—Building for Brussels
Exhibition—Architecture for Justice
Concept studios—Spatial Policy Plan of Flanders
Article A+ 282 village— Cultivate the food landscape
Vacancy - Operational Director (w/m/x)
Delta Atelier document
Vacancy— Research collaborators
Vacancy— Communication manager
Transition— Learning, living, working in 2050
Publication— Architectuurcultuur in Vlaanderen (only in NL)
Workshop II— Delta Atelier Urban Management
Air For Schools workshop— Keizer Karellaan and Leopold II-tunnel
Netwerkbijeenkomst— Ontwerp met Beleid
Bap! Biennale of architecture and landscape of Île-de-France— 1st edition
Socio-spatial study— Baudelo Building Ghent
Water+Land+Scape approved
Urbanising in Place— Rosario Workshop
Social-spatial research— Ghent Sint-Pieters
Brussels Urban Landscape Biennial Edition 2018— Rising Waters
You Are Here - Brussels
Announcement — IABR-THE MISSING LINK Rotterdam and Brussels
Urbanising in Place— Building the Food-Water-Energy nexus
IABR–2018+2020–The Missing Link— Delta Atelier
Antwerp— Mapping the shift of metropolitan phenomena in Berchem extra muros
Publication— Designing the Future
CS Genk— Campus Bret 21st century learning landscape
IABR-Atelier Rotterdam— and test site M4H
IABR–Atelier East Flemish Regio— Has left the starting blocks
Regional Call IABR-Atelier OVK— Help shape the future of the East Flanders Core region
IABR-Atelier Rotterdam— Energy transition as an urban project
IABR-Atelier Rotterdam— Call to Architects
Open Space Platform— Call Water-Land-Schap
Water as Leverage for Resilient Cities: Asia
Open Space Platform— Publication Operation Open Space
THE MISSING LINK— Curator Statement, Research Agenda and Call for Practices
Atelier Zennevallei
Urban Intervention — BRIDGE
Workshop Series — Urban Economy in the Brussels Metropolitan Area
Lecture and Debate — Fitting More Industry In
Rotterdam Biennale appoints three curators for diptych 2018+2020
A Whole World to Win— Floris Alkemade in conversation with Els Vervloesem and Joachim Declerck
Masterclass— Caring Neighborhoods
Atelier Kortrijk 2025— Innovative urban development strategy
With structural support from the Flemish government and regular support from the Brussels capital region and other regional and local governments.