Historic town hall of Leuven becomes open house, Leuven MindGate member aNNo co-designs

20/04/2020

Leuven's beautiful historic town hall is being prepared for a new future. The redevelopment and restoration works will start in 2023. The city of Leuven has carried out thorough research for this in recent years, and is now employing the design team of aNNo architecten together with FELT architecture & design. They won the Open Call with a well-considered and daring proposal that they will further develop into a final design.

The town hall will once again be given a fully-fledged public function. The open house will become permanently accessible and will have a future-oriented interpretation which corresponds with the symbolic value and heritage value of the building. It will also be the place to discover stories about Leuven's past and future. The historical spaces form the basis for the many heritage stories. Authentic pieces will once again be given a place in the town hall and through interactive stories, exhibitions and debates you will discover Leuven from the past, today and tomorrow.

"The town hall will be a new, attractive, unique and atmospheric place, where there will be plenty to do, both for the people of Leuven and for visitors from home and abroad," says mayor Mohamed Ridouani. "It is already Leuven's pride and joy, on the most beautiful square in the country, with also Table Round and the newly restored St. Peter's Church. In a few years' time, the town hall will be on display in all its glory for everyone to admire".

The city was looking for a suitable design team via the Open Call of the Flemish Government Architect. The temporary association aNNo architecten and FELT architectuur & design in collaboration with endeavour , 88888 and Atelier Arne Deruyter convinced the competition jury with their total approach and vision. They were the only ones to translate the city's ambition.

"For five hundred years, buildings and elements have been added to the town hall. The front house remained intact. We are now doing the same," says Stijn Cools (architect, aNNo). A correct use of colour and texture ensures that the contemporary volume fits in nicely with the historic setting of the Grote Markt. "The octagonal shape takes us back to the past", adds Jasper Stevens (architect, FELT), "You can also see the octagonal shape in the corner towers of the town hall, the free-standing tower of the Table Round and the choir of St Peter's Church.

The design team and the city will further develop the competition design. In 2023 the city will start with the renovation works.