Groeningen Abbey Museum _ Kortrijk


City of Kortrijk

Groeningen Abbey - Begijnhofpark, 8500 Kortrijk (BE)

Cie-O + Kinkorn, Sabine Okkerse, Janenrandoald, Chris Pype


  • study
  • in progress
  • built

This proposal for a new Arts and Exhibition site is located in and around the former abbey and museum 1302 (Battle of Golden Spurs) in the center of Kortrijk. The former museum 1302 is to be moved to a nearby church, leaving the protected abbey and its grounds open for restauration and reconversion into Kortrijk’s first artistic living room. Kortrijk’s highly creative and productive identity is to be given a new platform – a roof that harbours both the experience as well as the production of arts. An informal setting, a cabinet of curiosities, where businesses, artists, makers and locals can meet, hangt out, explore and get inspired.
The demand for a functional, platform-like living room on the scale of the city required a thorough revision of the existing infrastructure and its relationship to the adjacent street and park. By removing the west wing and inserting a new connective volume over 2,5 levels amongst the protected buildings, the internal spaces are easily reorganised. The west wing is then replaced by a new open passageway, connecting park and street and demarking the new entree.
The new roof playfully hints the language of historical roof shapes, giving the final building a both humble and remarkable outlook. On the inside, new and old are sitting side by side and blend into a new synthesized language. Spatial incisions and connections help establish interesting look-throughs and potential synergies between the so-called “back” (logistics, personnel, archive, …) and “front” (reception hall, café, meeting spaces and library, artist in residence, workshop rooms and exhibition spaces), always flirtingly questioning the need for privacy. The new constellation also allows for a wide variety of museal promenades through the building, making it very flexible and open for re-interpretation.
This design was the result of the collaboration with renowned dutch scenographist Kinkorn and heritage architect Sabine Okkerse. A new graphic house style was developed with the brilliant Janenrandoald.