Rubens Square, Knokke, Belgium

Rubens Square is a triangular square with a large opening towards the sea. Two long benches oriented parallel to the water are bordered by a wall of tempered glass which acts as protection from the wind. It is a particularly social place where elderly people often watch children play. The square’s tiles have a mosaic-like pattern with maritime tones that refer to the nearby sea. Blues, grey-greens and whites are interwoven like an abstract pointillist painting. Only the white tiles are strictly arranged diagonally. A difference in height of 1.2 meters makes the square slightly concave as if it were a stone wave washing up against the dike. Sculptures by Franz West are placed along two sides. The two five-meter high heads face each other, forming a playful and somewhat grotesque counterpoint to the square itself. The heads stimulate the imagination of passersby while also marking the entrance buildings to the car park under the square. They encourage musings and conversations, with the figures themselves being regarded almost as orators.
Client
City of Knokke
Architects
Robbrecht en Daem architecten
Program
public square
Location
Knokke, Belgium
Date
1999–2003
Status
Completed
Floor Surface
7.300 m2
Team
Paul Robbrecht, Hilde Daem, Tania Van den Bussche
Art Intervention
Franz West
Execution Architect
Groep Planning (underground car parking)
Structural Engineering
BAS (Dirk Jaspaert)
Services Engineering
Ingenium
Technical Control
Seco
Nominations / Awards
2005 – Prijs van de bouwheer (Vlaams Bouwmeester)