Projects

Belfry Bruges

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Building/site

Type

Cultural building, halls with belfry tower and carillon

Location

Markt 7 8000 Brugge

Style

Scheldt Gothic

Year of construction

13th-15th century, with 20th century alterations

Original design

Trigalet P.C., Hanicq A., Viérin J., Vermeersch M. en L., Roelens P. en J. en D’Hondt M.

Mission

Client

City of Bruges

Project team

Origin (restoration and architecture) Subcontract: NEY (stability) Boydens (techniques) FPC (fire security) Daidalos Peutz (building physics and acoustics)

It concerns the restoration of the Bruges belfry, the adjacent halls and the central courtyard.

Originally a commercial and administrative complex reflecting the importance of Bruges and its cloth industry at the time. Witness to the monumental and large-scale character of public bourgeois architecture in the Middle Ages and the handling of such a monument over the centuries.

The Hall Tower originally housed the treasury, the arsenal and the bell chamber. The city aldermen also met here. The hall served as a covered market place and storage area. Today, it is used for festivities, exhibitions and, secondarily, as a trading hall. The belfry is the historical symbol of the city and is an international, cultural tourist attraction. It is considered to be Bruges' top monument.

A restoration study does not simply consist of restoring what is there today, it also includes an innovative view of the building's potential. Thanks to the value assessment, we discover spaces where evolutions are possible - without compromising on respect for the heritage - in order to enhance the experience of the heritage: outside the known frameworks, apart from current functions and customs.

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During the Middle Ages, Bruges was one of the most important metropolises in the world. The halls, as the core of Bruges' commercial infrastructure, formed a hub for exchange: of goods, but also of ideas, discoveries and world views from all corners of the globe. The halls represent openness and exchange between cultures, mutual enrichment and innovation. 

The hall tower, pars pro toto for all our belfries, is a witness to the rising and flowering of our medieval cities. Above all, it refers to the citizens who managed to organise their town themselves, free from feudal constraints; it bears witness to nothing less than the birth of local democracy. The belfry represents citizens who took the responsibility - and cherished it - to direct their city themselves, for a creative, innovative form of government, directed from the bottom up, for and by the people of Bruges.

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Doing justice to this heritage therefore poses two major challenges. The first is to improve the tourist accessibility of the complex of halls, but also to "give back" the complex of halls to the citizen of Bruges, maybe not the whole complex, maybe not the belfry itself, but at least part of the halls. The second is to define a use for the hall complex that corresponds to the values it embodies - freedom and democracy, openness and exchange between cultures.

In concrete terms, the City of Bruges has now appointed an external advisory party to supervise the redevelopment process, based on the value assessment, and to bring the establishment of the future programme to a successful conclusion.

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Team members

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Charlotte Loosen

Collaborator

Education
Architect and Master “Monumenten- en Landschapszorg” (Artesis Hogeschool Antwerpen)

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Charlotte Nys

Director Administrator

Education
Architectural Engineer

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Joke Nijs

Collaborator

Education
Historian and Master "Conservation" (Centre Raymond Lemaire, Leuven)

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Charlotte Bosmans

Collaborator

Education
Architectural Engineer and Master “Conservation” (Centre Raymond Lemaire, Leuven)

Pierre-Henri Soubrier

Pierre-Henri Soubrier

Previous collaborator

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