Shopping Centre K, Kortrijk, Belgium

The shopping centre at Sint-Janspoort is a more sustainable counterpart to the large shopping centres on the outskirts of towns and cities and covers a whole block in the historical city centre of Kortrijk. With its interiorised street pattern and monumental atrium – the garden of light – this shopping centre forms a diagonal link between Steenpoort and Veemarkt. The tower closes off one end of the Romeinselaan. The volumetry of the block, which contains offices and homes as well as shops, matches the scale of the surrounding buildings.
Urban design and architecture have here been put entirely at the service of integrating the project into the urban context. The creation of several entrances to link up with the surrounding shopping streets, combined with the design of new routes straight through the shopping centre that respect the natural pedestrian routes, enables the project to nestle into its surroundings naturally. The strict scale of the stone shopfronts reflects the pattern of the surrounding streetfronts and at the same time brings this megaproject down to human proportions. The ceiling height of the underground car park was adapted so that deliveries by lorry can be made entirely below ground.
By orienting the retail spaces both inwards (to the ‘garden of light’) and outwards (towards the surrounding shopping streets) and by incorporating an existing ‘outdoor street’ into the shopping complex, a refined game is played in which the boundaries between what is inside, and what is outside, appear to blur. The relationship with the surroundings is further strengthened by views of the surrounding streets and the Kortrijk skyline that were created at various places in the interior. In combination with the pedestrian shopping area around it, this makes for an extensive range of urban public spaces: covered and uncovered shopping streets that merge into one another; the central ‘illuminated court’ that also provides room for urban, cultural activities; and the historical Veemarktplein, whose new entrance to the shopping centre and the strategically located block of flats gives it a new identity. 
Client
Sint-Janspoort nv, Foruminvest Group-City Mall
Architects
Robbrecht en Daem architecten
Program
shopping centre, apartments, parking, tunnels and infrastructure, residential tower
Location
Kortrijk, Belgium
Date
2005–2010
Status
Completed
Floor Surface
97.300 m² (restaurants and cafés: 1.000 m2, units car park: 990, apartments: 40)
Team
Paul Robbrecht, Hilde Daem, Tom De Moor, Haike Appelt, Luc Beckstedde, Petra Decouttere, Suzanne Desmet, Arne Deruyter, Kristof Keerman, Griet Ollivier, Cliff Reid, Kris Van Buynder, Mo Vandenberghe, Wim Walschap
Project Manager
THV Technum-TDE
Structural Engineering
THV Technum-TDE
Services Engineering
THV Technum-TDE
Acoustics
THV Technum-TDE
Contractor
THV Wijngaard (Van Laere, Van Roey)
Consultant
Seco