Miniature slit windows grace asymmetric roof of new market hall in Ghent, Belgium
This exquisite market hall in Ghent, Belgium is the work of a partnership between Robbrecht en Daem Architecten and Marie-Jose Van Hee Architecten. The barbed structure spikes across a 24,000 sq m site formerly home to a desolate parking lot in the centre of Ghent, commanding the space between the spires of St Nicholas Church, the Belfry and a Cathedral.
Designed to encourage local residents to convene in the market square for social gatherings and public events, the pavilion above ground marks the location of the brasserie, bicycle park and public toilets below ground, accessible through a new lower ‘green’. The market hall above hosts a plethora of events and the official opening saw hundreds cram underneath its up-lit folds.
Breathtaking images of the recently-completed structure have been storming the internet and the responses from locals and architecture enthusiasts have been mixed. K.G. wrote to online portal Dezeen: "I live only 200m away from this building. It is heavy and big indeed, they used to [sic] many materials. It’s very pretentious and too expensive. It has no function at all and it’s windy", only to be countered by M.M. who replied: "I completely disagree (living only 1000m away and make detours to see if more often) [sic].
"It is a big building, but the square is big as well. The surrounding buildings are even bigger. Making the building smaller would mean that is would be lost in the square. The perspectives on the building from the nearby streets and squares are amazing. Giving interesting peaks on the Belfort tower and hiding the ugly façade of the town hall. I don’t get why people are always complaining that there’s too much materials used. Building these days is a story of layers and layers and layers of material. In this case: concrete columns, a steel framed roof and a wooden finish."
The concrete columns are four in number and are thick to hoist the gabled canopy structure. This canopy spikes in reflection of the spires in close proximity, reaching high into the sky but falling slightly short of its peers in ‘a respectful role’ [Robbrecht en Daem Architecten]. A wooden finish has been applied to the exterior, brought to life with a glass envelope which reflects the sunlight and glistens in the centre of the square, protecting the natural wood beneath.