Kapucijnenvoer Leuven

The historic river Voer, a tributary of the Dijle, has been reopened again after more than a century of being covered. The Kapucijnenvoer is now a pleasant, green habitable space. The chaotic traffic situation has been tackled and a safe link has been created in the bicycle axis between the city centre, the ‘sportkot’ and the Arenberg Campus. Sweco Belgium took care of the feasibility study, concept and vision building around the redevelopment.


Client: City of Leuven

Location: Leuven

Period: 2008 - 2014

Services: feasibility study, concept and vision

The Sweco’s assignment encompasses the feasibility study, the design and the site monitoring as well as the drawing up of a PCV report. The project area is situated in a zone of the historic city centre that has developed into an urban area at rather late stage and where water plays a strong role. The connection from ‘sportkot’ and the Arenberg Campus, straight through Leuven, up to the ‘Vaartkom’ is an important, functional and historic line.

Blue artery
The proximity of water played an important role in the coming about of the urban and economic development of the city. Presenting the Voer back in the daylight, fits into a story of the blue artery of Leuven. The design for the Kapucijnenvoer is based on a legible and clearly structured spatial concept. It develops around a central green park area that focuses on short stay and passive recreation. The central and open park area connects north and south to two smaller-scale and more intimate occupied spaces.

This design solution allows the water and experience of the watercourse to profile in its urban context along the quiet side of the site. This is done via the green space of the park and through a new upper and lower quay. The spacious, pleasant, central grass parterre slopes gently towards the Voer and the waterfront has a sunken location along the park and quay side. This increases the intimacy of the site and takes the occupied space further away from the busy dual carriageway. The project also included the construction of a separate sewer system. The part of the Voer duct that wasn’t laid open, was given a thorough renovation with tailor-made plastic components.

Public Space Prize
The tenth award ceremony for the prestigious Public Space Prize took place on March 30th 2017, during the Public Space Congress. The Kapucijnenvoer project in Leuven was one of the five laureates. Since 2008, the Public Space Infopunt has been putting the best public spaces in Flanders and Brussels into the spotlight. From all the entries, an independent panel of experts selected just five projects for the Public Space casebook. The nominees appear along with dozens of other projects in the anniversary edition of the Public Space casebook, which has grown over the years into a renowned standard work.

Photo: © Tom D'haenens