The Groot Vleeshuis covered market building dates to the 15th century , Source: City of Ghent

This medieval gem in Ghent will become public bike parking lot

This medieval gem in Ghent will become public bike parking lot

Local authorities say that this is a good way to preserve the 15th-century market building while providing a public service

Last week, local authorities in Ghent, Belgium, announced that they would transform the Groot Vleeshuis, a 15th-century covered market into a bike parking lot – offering guarded parking space near the heart of the city.

Adapting medieval architecture

According to an official statement, this will help the restoration efforts, as the building currently has structural support issues. At the same time, it would continue to be open to visitors and locals alike, while providing a pragmatic solution to the bicycle parking problem plaguing central Ghent.

The building has a relatively open floor plan making adapting it to bike parking quite easy. Meanwhile, the guarded storage space can make many on-street bike parking redundant, in turn, opening space for pedestrians.  

Furthermore, refurbishing the building to accommodate bikes is a perfect opportunity to make bigger renovations, respecting the heritage and original architecture, while strengthening the structural supports.

The project 

According to the municipality of Ghent, the Groot Vleeshuis will serve as a bike parking lot for 15 years. The project will also feature a public restroom. The estimated cost of the renovation is 7.5 million euros, however, the city can apply for a subsidy of 900,000 euros from the Flanders Heritage Agency.

This would be a much better use of the space, authorities say, as it is currently closed to the public on the advice of experts.

Hafsa El-Bazioui, Alderman of Facilities Management, was quoted in a press statement, explaining: “We can restore the building to its former glory faster than originally planned. We give it back to the people of Ghent with a new destination and a public service. Anyone who comes to the centre of Ghent will be able to enjoy the building again.”



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