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Historical study, building analysis and feasability study for the citadel of DIest

Year ︎︎︎ 2021 - 2023
Phase ︎︎︎ Complete
Surface︎︎︎ 28ha

The 19th century fortification belt around Diest’s fortress is still clearly visible in Fort Leopold, the gates and remaining ramparts, and especially the Citadel. It’s even the only citadel in Flanders that is still preserved and the only one in Europe with an intact Chasseloup-Laubat defense system. Its location 400 m from the Grand Place and its occupancy of 15% of the city center within the ring road make it a unique opportunity to expand the core city area and become a worthy landmark for the surrounding area. The former military complex is already used by sociocultural associations but is still very introverted. The aim is to create a support base to generate a contemporary mix of public and private program with guarantees for the existence of the citadel as a meaningful patrimony.


First of all, the pure architecture of the citadel with the different courtines and bastions around the central parade square is restored. The annexed sheds and halls are demolished and the citadel is renovated. Interaction is sought with the forested glacis which occupies half of the citadel site, an enormous green lung for the city. In addition to technical studies including moisture problems, broad working sessions are organized with possible partners who could establish themselves on the site, such as the City, the academies (for visual arts and for music and word) and the police. New housing can be integrated with specific boundaries. A valuation framework is defined within which the feasibility of the program in different scenarios is explored. Supplementary storylines are deployed to generate 24/7 use and vibrancy.

Client ︎︎︎ Stad Diest
Team ︎︎︎ ALTSTADT, Leidsman, Endeavour, Arch&Teco, Daidalos Peutz