The beating heart of Izegem, West Flanders, and far beyond.
Blauwpoorte is a visionary urban development project by Urbes and JMA Group in Izegem (West Flanders, Belgium) that brings the synergy of nature management, the revaluation of heritage and the development of a green and sustainable residential area. It will be a cultural, educational and tourist site that contributes to the strengthening of the social fabric and the image of the city of Izegem. Blauwpoorte will be an attraction for families, young people, schools, elderly, entrepreneurs, companies, artists, tourists and architecture lovers. The domain includes a new modern house complex, a huge monumental castle ‘Blauwhuis’, an orangery ‘Botan’ and a beautiful green park.
We are currently busy transforming the 500 year old castle into a creative hub and social innovation playground.
The castle grounds, covering an area of approximately 10 hectares, will be restored to their former glory. The castle, orangery, playhouse and access roads will be completely renovated in conjunction with the heritage service. We provide the design and implementation of the concept and program. In addition to the existing values on the site, some elements are added to make a contemporary and vibrant program possible.
Prior to the creation of the program’s concept and design, extensive market research was done in the city of Izegem.
We first explored how we could optimally and creatively reuse this fantastic domain. Secondly, we examined how to revive it in its glory. For the market research we conducted surveys with citizens (B2C) and policies (B2P) and did interviews with organisations (B2B). The points of interest in our market research were the following: desirability (are we a "must have" or rather a "nice to have"?), feasibility (how difficult will it be to realize the needs? What are the risks and dependencies?) and viability (can it be profitable and can it remain that way? Is there growth and expansion possibilities of the concept?). From this research we were able to construct a number of personas to which we could align the concept. That way we could very well determine if the points of interest were fulfilled.
In addition to market research, we also did desktop research. We made an environmental and competitor analysis where we identified our key competitors. Next, we conducted a trend analysis on how to anticipate current and future trends and how to stand out with unique characters. We focused on the following topics: hospitality, workplace, post-corona and age groups. Finally, we listed the challenges, looked at them in detail and presented a draft proposal.
Based on the previous phases, the concept and program were composed with the ambition to create a cultural and creative breeding ground where all residents of Izegem, regardless of age, and people from far beyond are welcome. Izegem is hereby placed on the international map as an exceptional example in which nature management, revaluation of heritage and urban development are interwoven in symbiosis to form one iconic project in which Izegem will grow and flourish.
The castle Blauwhuis will capture everyone's imagination and become the perfect place for creative makers, entrepreneurs and the general population to come together in one community.
With a focus on socially responsible and sustainable business, the castle will be an incubator where this community will be given the necessary inspiration and space to give their craftsmanship free rein, to experiment and to forge new synergies.
This unique place can be used for meetings, co-work, lectures and events, whether or not in combination with a dinner. In this way, we achieve a total experience in which drinking, eating and perception (exhibition, concert, dance, technology and science) can flow seamlessly into one another. The hospitality and artistic, technological and cultural experience is polyvalent in all its facets. From a drink and a small bite to events and private parties/meetings to a unique restaurant experience in a cultural and artistic environment.
The orangerie Botan will be a meeting place that stimulates feelings of freedom, togetherness and self-awareness.
This place, born of nature and history, strives to set new standards in terms of atmosphere, sustainability, experience and mental relaxation. A place where everyone is welcome, regardless of age, origin, wealth,... Botan is an open house with a fun and attractive program in relation to the park and its history. One can drink, eat and experience something here (music, spoken word, stand up comedy, live music, etc...). Botan is putting Izegem on the map as a destination for foodies, bon vivants and design enthusiasts.
Research showed us that mental being came up a lot as important, both general and post-corona well-being.
Because we are concerned about human well-being and health, we organize a number of activities around it such as workshops, yoga, psychotherapy, group therapy, tai-chi, walks, running, meditation,... In addition to these activities, we want to support mental, physical and social health by firstly strengthening the Community feeling and secondly raising awareness of healthy food, exercise and lifestyle.