Lives, works and eats in a rooftop restaurant in a former provincial building on Burg in Bruges

Bruges City Council issued a favorable urban development certificate for the renovation of the former provincial government building at Burg. The building, which today houses the artist’s studio ‘De Tank’, gets a multifunctional interpretation with co-working, co-living and exhibition space and a rooftop restaurant. The design is by the internationally renowned architect David Chipperfield.

After the relocation of the provincial government, the building at Brugse Burg became empty and was sold. The new owner, Marc Roelandt, contractor and project developer from Hertsberge (director at Cartma Invest and Roosevelt House), will transform the existing building into a modern (new) building volume.

Works overlooking Burg. (photo by David Chipperfield Architects Ltd.)

“The internationally acclaimed architect David Chipperfield was named for this, after going through an architectural competition in which both the City and the Property Agency were involved,” says Alderman for Spatial Planning Franky Demon.


“This is the first time that a project has been realized in Bruges by this architect. I am therefore very proud that a high-quality and image-defining project of Chipperfield will soon be in our city center. ”

The current design is the result of an intensive initial phase with extensive design research in constructive dialogue with the Environmental Approval Department and the Department of Monuments and Cultural Heritage. The draft was also submitted to the Unesco Expert Committee (ECU), which delivered a favorable opinion.

Harmonious whole

The existing building is part of the listed cityscape ‘Markt and Burg with Surroundings’. This means that, among other things, volume, scale, materials and architecture must be preserved as much as possible. The design is similar to this according to Franky Demon.

The entire building will be completed with staggered penthouses sloping towards the Provinciaal Hof as well as the Burg and Philipstockstraat. “This roof shape takes more account of the context. If possible, the design is even more in harmony with the governor’s residence than its predecessor, “the ships continued.


The tower has been an integral part of the building since the beginning of the design process. The new version is less tall than the current one and stands in relation to the rest of the complex. The tower will house publicly accessible exhibition spaces.

“The ground floor and top floor will be open to the public,” said Mayor Dirk De fauw. “Every visitor will be able to enjoy the beautiful view. Opening the ground floor creates a new interaction with Burg. Where the current office building is not conspicuously located in the corner of the square, the new realization will invite the public. The facade will be opened up and connected. with Philipstockstraat, which also provides access to the exhibition space and the garden. ”


Alderman Franky Demon: “The building will have a multifunctional interpretation. For example, there will be space for co-working, where users will be able to enjoy jointly offered services, meeting rooms and offices, but also for co-living with 26 one- and two-room apartments and a three-room apartment.

There is an underground car park for forty cars for the residents. The users of the building have access to a number of common areas and services, including a rooftop restaurant and bar with outdoor terrace, lobby, exhibition and event rooms and sports facilities.


The building has been deliberately not completely demolished. “This is both a sustainable and an economical choice,” Franky Demon emphasizes. The concrete skeleton is preserved and the existing facade panels (in natural stone) are recycled in a uniquely designed facade filling. The patina of the recycled natural stone remains a beautiful reference to the original building. The new building will meet all requirements for energy efficiency and insulation.

There will also be an exhibition hall.  (Photo by David Chipperfield Architects Ltd.)
There will also be an exhibition hall. (Photo by David Chipperfield Architects Ltd.)

According to Councilor Franky Demon, this is a good example of how very contemporary high-quality architecture in combination with the use of traditional materials (wood, glass, nature and brick) can be harmoniously connected with an existing historic building context.


Architect David Chipperfield, who has previously completed leading projects in the heart of Berlin, Paris and Venice, is delighted to be allowed to work on this Unesco World Heritage Site: “It is a great honor to be able to work in Burg and beyond. UNESCO World Heritage Site Bruges. We are convinced that this project will make a meaningful contribution to a vibrant and sustainable city, inspired by its history and with respect for its structure. “

This is what the building will look like.  (Photo by David Chipperfield Architects Ltd.)
This is what the building will look like. (Photo by David Chipperfield Architects Ltd.)

Matt Ball, Director of David Chipperfield Architects London, said: “From the outset, we felt it was important to reuse the existing building and improve its qualities through a series of effective architectural interventions.

Co-working spaces overlooking the Bruges skyline.  (Photo by David Chipperfield Architects Ltd.)
Co-working spaces overlooking the Bruges skyline. (Photo by David Chipperfield Architects Ltd.)

This approach is not only more environmentally sustainable, but also protects part of the city’s history and limits the disturbance of the environment. The building will house a diverse program that reflects today’s more flexible requirements in terms of work and meeting, and which is more actively involved in Burgplein. ”


The certificate is not yet a license. The owner will apply for an environmental permit after the summer, after which a public investigation will follow. If everything goes according to plan, the municipality can issue the permit in February 2023, and construction can start in a year.

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