Following the requalification of the Old Lys riverbanks (awarded the Prize for the best public space in Flanders 2019), MDP agency was entrusted with the redevelopment of emblematic public spaces in the city center of Kortrijk: the immediate surroundings of the Church Notre Dame, its connections with the Beguinage (classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site), but also the access to the quays and to a nearby park.
The existing situations are disparate. Some old public spaces have been redesigned several times. Others are characterized by heterogeneous recent developments, more or less scattered. It is now a matter of redefining hardscape and plantations, but also the thresholds from one space to another, to give a new legibility to the whole.
The constitution of a unitary and coherent aesthetic in the treatment of different types of roads and squares (materials and profiles) is a major challenge. It is an opportunity to define new open public spaces that can be appropriated, highlighting the historic center’s potential to evolve and the knock-on effect this could have within the urban fabric.
The rugged topography of the area surrounding the church is greatly simplified. Its forecourt is redesigned to establish a continuous slope with the street leading to the Beguinage. Around the religious building, the area once fragmented by the remains of a city wall is treated into a large lawn. The grading is raised to integrate the historic trace serving as a mineral road. The new lawn is opened up to new uses and connects with the park. The Beguinage square extends the “writing” of the central square (Grot Markt), while integrating new tree plantations whose random arrangement carefully preserves sunlight and public uses.
MDP Michel Desvigne Paysagiste