Grote Markt

Tienen’s market square is typical of the historical marketplaces found in small Belgian cities. Moreover, the city’s brief for the redeveloped square can be qualified as overtly prototypical, a textbook example of decision-avoidance politics. The innocuous-looking brief stipulated that the square should serve as a car park, a market square, a church square, a monument to the local war victims, a tourist attraction, a concert venue, a park, etc. In order to be able to deal with this non-exhaustive laundry list of objectives, we decided to re-scale the square, envisioning it as a series of places with their own identity and qualities. This scaled down the edges of the public space and formed a main event square framed by a green façade and urban park. The finishing of the square was realized with reused stone material, featuring a range of different sizes and finishings. The two side-squares in the southern corners were treated as places with their own scale and atmosphere. Using this spatial-puzzle method, the square as an overall project succeeds in playing its different urban roles: a large-scale urban square with a meeting and event space; a cosy inner-city location with terraces and activities; an urban park with a key role in the city’s urban ecology. 

  • Location

    Tienen, Belgium

  • Client

    City of Tienen

  • Competition


  • Design

    2014 - 2018

  • Construction

    2020 - 2022

  • 51N4E project team

    Johan Anrys, Freek Persyn, Aline Neirynck, Ruben Janssens, Marta Petrov

  • Structural engineering

    BAS/Dirk Jaspaert

  • Technical engineering


  • Landscape

    Plant en Houtgoed

  • Built surface

    18.250 m²

  • Construction costs

    € 7.500.000 incl. underground techniques and all public lighting

  • Image credits


  • Photography credits

    Maxime Delvaux, 51N4E