Torhout is looking for a design team for the development of Centrum +

The center + zone contains a large number of common facilities such as the fire station, the swimming pool, the sports infrastructure, the art academy, the cemetery, the Sint-Rembert school campus, etc. In addition, a significant part of this area is intended. to environmentally harmful industry. Within this part, the city bought the Thor site, a former furniture factory of almost 3 hectares.

Torhout City Council is fully considering a number of programmatic shifts within Centrum +. The relocation of the municipal swimming pool and space for the visual arts department (art academy) are the most concrete. There are also different needs in the field of sports. In addition, a possible relocation of the fire station is also being considered. In addition, both the social organization Tordale and a private developer have plans for housing projects near the Thor site. The city has put these construction projects on hold so far pending the design vision for the site.

Torhout sees these development dynamics as an opportunity to bring structure and cohesion to Centrum +, both in terms of the public program, habitable housing, mobility, green-blue veins and the readability and inviting character of the public space combined with attention to retail. In addition, it also provides an opportunity to focus on the relationship between the historic city center and Centrum +. How do the two districts relate to each other, what role do both play, what functions belong to where? How can they complement each other and reinforce each other at the same time?

The City Council wants to use design research to arrive at a geographical development strategy for Centrum +. This must first and foremost map the complementarity and the spatial interweaving between the center and the Center +. The development of a readable and inviting public space, a safe and comfortable mobility network and attention to green-blue veins must lead to a coherent framework that connects the historic center and Centrum +, and which creates the right conditions for both public and private quality management of developments. The structural sketch must also contain a proposal for a program for the various parts of Centrum +, such as the determination of construction sites and their interpretation.

As soon as the overall framework is ready, the municipality wants to work with a more concrete design vision for the Thor site. The goal is to get a picture of possible development scenarios and programs. As the development of this place and the wider environment will take many years, a vision of temporary use is also expected. There are several landowners present in Centrum +, each with their own ambitions and timing. The preparation of a proactive development strategy and design vision will enable the city to enter into negotiations and qualitatively manage the future spatial development of Centrum +.

It must be possible to translate the ultimate vision into concrete projects and political interventions, each of which contributes to a comfortable living environment. The municipality therefore expects advice on how possible economic and political levers can be used in function of the intended environmental quality. In addition, the developer is looking for a team that is ready to support the city in setting up and developing concrete projects. At a later date, Torhout therefore anticipates the possibility of handing over the project management of one or more sub-tasks to the design team.

The client is looking for a design team with knowledge of and experience in urban planning, public space, (landscape) architecture and project organization. In addition, advice on possible use of financial and political levers is expected. Team Vlaams Bouwmeester will oversee the entire project and will be part of the Advisory Committee for the award of the contract.


  • Registration of interested design teams: before 17 June at 11.00.
  • Explanation of the task to the selected designers: September 2022.
  • A minimum of three and a maximum of five teams are invited to submit a bid before October 2022.
  • Presentation of the offers: October 2022.
  • Execution period: 12 months.

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