Experience architecture!


Michel Desvigne (FR)

The power of urban landscape

Michel Desvigne is a geographer and botanist who works on a large scale. He loves the city because it offers a lot of public space, because a well-designed city with all its streets, squares and parks shapes a society.

In addition to architects and urban planners, landscape architects are becoming increasingly prominent: they create the space in which an architect works. The relationship between city, people and nature needs to be restored. Parks and / or high-quality public space make it possible to live with nature in the city.

Desvigne focuses on new landscapes, contemporary nature creations that work with what is already present in an unspoken way.

Michel Desvigne has a special bond with Kortrijk:

The surroundings of the Broel Towers on the Leie are one of the most beautiful places in Kortrijk’s city centre. This place is the symbol and calling card of Kortrijk. The site is also strategically located between the economic city centre of Kortrijk and the Buda island with the new banks of the Leie. The former experience of this place did not live up to its potential. In 2005 a global concept for the reconstruction of the quays of the Oude Leie arm was developed by the French landscape architect Michel Desvigne in collaboration with the engineering firms JPLX and Arcadis. The main starting point in the redesign was to improve contact with the water. He therefore proposed to lower the quay walls. This redevelopment of the Oude Leieboorden won the prize for best public space in Flanders and Brussels during the Public Space Congress in 2019. The prize was awarded by the Infopunt Public Space and is a recognition of good commissioning, high-quality design and professional implementation of the project. In addition to the prize of the jury, the city council also received the Public Prize for Public Space.
The redesign of the quays will restore contact between the river and the city and will create a new meeting place. This valuable new urban landscape increases the spatial quality of the historic city.

The international arts trail of Contrei Live and Intercommunale Leiedal, is currently on show (until the end of October 2020) not only in Kortrijk but in thirteen cities and municipalities in South West Flanders, among which an installation by Michel Desvigne. He designed a group of floating islands “Floating Gardens” on the Leie, near the Broeltorens. During the development of a vision around the Leiewerken in Kortrijk, the idea emerged to create floating green islands in addition to the interventions on the quays. Floating Gardens conjures up a floating dream landscape to reflect on and over the water. The gardens are small, simple and repetitive structures that reproduce the natural vegetation of the banks of the Leie. In their natural impermanence they emphasize the transition of the seasons. From the quays you can observe the floating gardens from the front row and reflect on the process and the creation of new forms of nature in the city. The typical water and bank plants of the Lys landscape take root in the water, with the floating ecosystem supporting them without soil. The method is similar to hydroponics. The ambition is to expand the number of islands over time. The intervention therefore has a sustainable character.

Michel Desvigne is internationally renowned for his rigorous and contemporary work and research. He develops projects in more than 25 countries. He revisits the landscape and tries to understand the mechanisms that make up the landscape, in order to transform it and give it meaning with the same mechanisms. In 2000, Desvigne was awarded the Médaille de l’Académie d’Architecture and in 2011 the Grand Prix de l’Urbanisme. Since 2003 he is a Knight of the French Order of Arts and Letters and has taught at several architecture schools around the world.
He shares his vision and his work.



Th 29 October 2020 20:00



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