Business Centre Ronse

The central buildings of the former site “Delbar” in Ronse were repurposed into an incubator for young companies. This starters center is designed as a flexible and dynamic environment with respect for the industrial heritage of the city.

After years of vacancy, the city of Ronse purchased the “Delbar” site to create a redevelopment project. However, a large part of the buildings were in considerably poor condition, which led to considering full demolition. Yet, there was a conscious decision made to preserve the essence of the buildings. The historical background of the existing buildings is strongly linked to the history and identity of an entrepreneurial Ronse. We therefore considered the industrial heritage as an asset. In this way, the project fixes itself in the city’s past, grows further in the present, and reaches out to the future. In addition to the historic aspect, a starters center requires an efficient and sustainable environment. The no-nonsense approach of the design provides an answer to this. Further implementation of the concept placed great importance on sustainability in materials, energy management, and ease of maintenance. The city’s textile past is a story of innovation and development. By choosing to preserve, the appearance of the former textile factory creates a robust structure where new young companies can dynamically fill the vacant space in an individual way. The starters center is not just a restoration, the project re-evaluates the buildings as a source of inspiration for young entrepreneurs.

The office building, warehouse, and impressive chimney were preserved and renovated with respect for the quality of the industrial heritage. The remaining buildings made way for necessary parking space, green areas, and space for water management. In terms of design, we chose to preserve the iconic building as much as possible and to center it in relation to the new use. This is evident both in the structural composition and the details of the building. Concrete is literally and figuratively the foundation of the project. The expressive concrete structure was stabilized and now forms an essential part of the building’s experience. The concrete window frames, which is so typical of industrial buildings from just after WWII, has been cleverly integrated into the concept of the new windows. Color choices and new elements, such as partitions and stairs, enter into a dialogue with the industrial character of the building.


conversion of the site Delbar into a business centre




architecture techniques competition






Koen Van Damme