Town hall: restoration, re-purposing

The City of Leuven aims to transform its iconic building into an ‘open house’ for Leuven residents and visitors by 2027.

General concept

Anyone may wander in freely. The open house offers a warm welcome to visitors, whether from Belgium or abroad, and Leuven residents alike. It is a place where people can discover stories about the building and the city of Leuven. The building also retains its political and ceremonial functions:

  • Updated tourist information centre
  • Indoor courtyard as an urban oasis
  • Venue for municipal council meetings, weddings and receptions

Design

The city found the design team, aNNo and FELT, through the Vlaams Bouwmeester’s Open Call selection procedure. Their design concept unites the town hall’s heritage value and its renewed purpose, and the designers have included a new section surmounting the current police station. The design team and the city will work out a final design on the basis of this proposal by the end of 2021.

  • Open and accessible
    • Entrance with a reception area for visitors on the Grote Markt
    • Possibility to pass from the newly built section to the historical part, with space for exhibitions and meeting areas
    • New section features comfortable staircase and lift

 

  • Preservation of buildings’ heritage value
    • The town hall’s exterior and historic interior spaces will be restored. Inside, visitors can discover stories about Leuven’s past, present and future.
    • Suitable colours and materials ensure that the new construction fits in well with the Grote Markt.
    • The new section is low enough that the Muntstraat’s protected view of the Grote Markt and Saint Peter’s Church will remain intact.
    • The new construction’s octagonal shape recalls the town hall’s towers, the Tafelrond and the Saint Peter’s Church choir.
  • Multifunctional
    • The new construction on top of the current police station features a large reception area on the ground floor, an open exhibition space and a balcony with a view of the surrounding area.
    • Venue for municipal council meetings, weddings and formal receptions
    • The police are moving to a modern station in the Naamsestraat wing.
    • The radiohuis exhibition space remains located on Muntstraat.

Restauration salons

The salons are located in the rear part of the Town Hall. This is the oldest part, built between 1439 and 1445. The stately décor of the salons dates from the mid-19th century. Today, the salons are used for marriages.

What works are we carrying out?

We are completely restoring the salons:

  • Floors, walls and ceilings: repairing the parquet, repainting and gilding in historically correct colours, replacing wallpaper, etc.
  • Reupholstering furniture, hanging new curtains
  • Restoring chandeliers
  • Adapting and modernising the technical installations (heating and electricity)
  • Installing thin double glazing in the existing frames
  • Restoring the mayoral portraits

Schedule

  • Start of restoration: Mid-April 2021
  • End of restoration: Expected mid-2022

The salons are located in the rear part of the Town Hall. This is the oldest part, built between 1439 and 1445. The stately décor of the salons dates from the mid-19th century. Today, the salons are used for marriages.

What works are we carrying out?

We are completely restoring the salons:

  • Floors, walls and ceilings: repairing the parquet, repainting and gilding in historically correct colours, replacing wallpaper, etc.
  • Reupholstering furniture, hanging new curtains
  • Restoring chandeliers
  • Adapting and modernising the technical installations (heating and electricity)
  • Installing thin double glazing in the existing frames
  • Restoring the mayoral portraits

Schedule

  • Start of restoration: Mid-April 2021
  • End of restoration: Expected mid-2022

 

Schedule

Construction is expected to last until 2027.

  • 2020:
    • Restoration of reception rooms with Flemish government grant
    • Appointment of design team
    • Further process to involve Leuven residents and tourists
  • 2021-2023:
    • Test set-up for temporary exhibitions
    • Experimenting with space utilisation
  • 2023-2027:
    • Construction in aid of restoration and re-purposing
    • Temporary closure of town hall
    • Temporary pop-up tourist centre
  • Spring 2027:
    • Opening of refurbished town hall
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