‘Place Matuvu’ works in Knokke-Heist go above-ground

Now that the underground works under the Albertplein in Knokke-Heist have been completed, developers PSR, part of Jan De Nul Group, and Goethals Promotor are starting the above-ground works. The new eye-catcher at the centre of the square will be a glass pavilion, made up of 2211 triangular glass windows, with space for catering inside.

The glass pavilion is an engineering feat, with no load-bearing structures inside the dome. An ingenious system of rods and node connections provides the necessary stability: an ‘ISONODE structure’ designed by Philippe Samyn at MIT in 1971.

The dome will be constructed from top to bottom. To make this possible, the entire structure is suspended from a construction crane during the building phase. The innovative structure is a world first in the architectural field.

The designer of this pavilion is Philippe Samyn and Partners, the engineering- and architect firm that also designed the new headquarters of the European Council in Brussels.

Julie De Pauw, Development Manager at PSR: “The build of this dome makes us think of the classical Meccano-toys, but world-class level. The shape is simple, but the structure is complex. Each element of the dome is unique and fits perfectly in the puzzle. The finished result will not betray which technical marvels are hidden within.

The residents give colour to the square

In 2022, developers GOETHALS PROMOTOR and PSR collected old coins from the residents of Knokke-Heist. A grand total of 11,000 coins was collected. These old coins, along with replicas, are used in black concrete tiles. Interspersed with white tiles, they will form a checkerboard pattern on the square. Those who donated coins can look for their own contribution. This way, the local residents will also help build a little of the new eyecatcher of Knokke-Heist.

Albertplein will once again be ‘Place Matuvu’

Around the square, space is provided for benches. The glass dome will house a catering establishment. Albertplein will once again become the ‘place m’as-tu vu’ of old: a vibrant space in Knokke-Heist, where it is pleasant to be, and where strolling and terraces take centre stage.

The redesign of Albertplein is not only visual. Utilities, such as sewers and pipes, were also completely renewed.