Well-known shop becomes multi-family oasis on the waterfront
For half a century, the ‘Meyhui’ shop in Kortrijk was a well-known address for table decoration. The location of the vacant site is ideal for an innovative residential project: close to the Buda Island – an important core of urban renewal since a few years – and with a view of a branch of the river Lys. The buildings of the former shop, the showroom and warehouses will be integrated into ‘Meerlenhof’ wherever possible. Greening and softening are also central to the project.
Meerlenhof’ will be designed with great respect for the existing heritage. The front, on the building line on the quay, refers to the ‘look’ that has been constant for more than a century on this spot at the water. The succession of different white façades will be translated to today.
At the front left of the site, some of the original industrial buildings of the former ‘Fabrique de plaques photographiques Léaucourt’, dating from 1894, can still be seen. Half of the façade of Léaucourt was demolished a century ago to make way for a more simple and flat variant. Both façades will be restored to their former glory. After demolition, the warehouses behind it will provide space for five ground-connected single-family houses. The residents will also be able to cross from their own gardens to the communal green spaces at the back.
The façade on the right – the showroom of the table decorator – consisted of a façade with tightly rhythmed shop windows. The new façade is based on the same rhythm. Various designs of white brick alternate with each other and refer to the historic buildings. The bronze-coloured aluminium is a wink to the characteristic joinery of the shop. This new section accommodates 13 flats.
At the back, in the garden, one warehouse will be converted into 6 new park flats. A free space between the historical façades and the new part gives access to the communal garden and slightly breaks the length of the façade. An additional advantage is that passers-by can visually enjoy the new green area.
With this reconversion, a former part of Kortrijk’s commercial heritage will continue to live on, in the guise of a contemporary residential project for 24 families who can live in quiet surroundings close to the city. The entire project will be CO2-neutral, for example by working with geothermal heat pumps. Meerlenhof refers to the whistling of the blackbird. With its 2,500 m² of greenery, it will undoubtedly become a place in the city where flying friends can feel at home.