De Smidse Fresh Market Leuven
reconversion of an industrial warehouse into a fresh market
These past few years, the Vaartkom area in Leuven has evolved from a desolate industrial zone into a trendy urban district with a variety of new projects. One of the most striking initiatives is the reconversion of the restored Smidse building, an industrial warehouse of the old Stella Artois factory, into a fresh food market. Through this modern interpretation, the project brings added value to the city of Leuven and its citizens.
The restored warehouse is given a contemporary and unique character with respect for its heritage. When visitors look beyond the stately building, they will notice that the programme has been carefully considered: commercial functions alternate with complementary functions. Special attention was paid to the organisation of areas open to the public versus private and technical areas, to the 'natural' but undesirable barrier between the ground floor and the first floor and to the need for flexible opening hours for the various shops.
POLO Architects' design is based on a homogeneous entity in which every function manages to express its own unique character. The architecture of the various commercial spaces, the visual identity, the accessibility and the internal circulation play a vital role in achieving this.
photography: Koen Broos