Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

This site uses cookies. By using our services, you agree to our cookie use.
Learn more here.

Competition: Open Call 34, Flanders

The Flemish Government Architect has launched its biannual ‘open call’ for teams to complete a range of major public schemes (Deadline: 20 August)

Open to architects, urban planners and landscape architects, this summer’s international competition features seven schemes including a 400-unit social housing scheme in Ostend (pictured), a town centre masterplan for Moerbeke, and the regeneration of a historic church in Hasselt.

Other projects up for grabs include a new £7.4 million headquarters for sewage treatment firm Aquafin, a masterplan for historic Affligem Abbey, and a new 20-unit care home in suburban Rietmusstraat.

Project site: Omschrijving in Ostend, Flanders

Project site: Omschrijving in Ostend, Flanders

Source: Image by GDI-Vlaanderen

Project site: Omschrijving in Ostend, Flanders

According to the contest announcement: ‘The open call is a unique and innovative way of selecting and negotiating. The drafting of a project definition, which is then not cast by one but by different design teams in a sketch design, and the subsequent discussion help the public client to make a weighted choice for the designer who desires his preference.

‘The open call calls for a visionary building culture, in which building is a fully-fledged social instrument, not an end in itself or simply a way to quickly meet needs. In concrete terms, the open call generates a significant added value on a number of crucial points.’

Flanders is the Dutch-speaking northern region of Belgium, which has had its own government architect since 1999. The first person to hold the office was Bob Van Reeth and the current incumbent is the architect and civil engineer Leo Van Broeck.



Source: Image by Tim Van de Velde


The programme was launched in 1999, and has so far promoted more than 600 projects. Its official language is Dutch. Between three and seven architects will be shortlisted for each Open Call 34 project.

Architects who have previously won projects from the open call include Maccreanor Lavington, Sergison Bates, Tony Fretton, Stephen Taylor, Ian Simpson, Witherford Watson Mann and DRDH.

London’s 6a architects and Sergison Bates are currently competing to design a £10.6 million maritime museum in north Antwerp which was tendered through the programme.

The scheme will convert an existing workshop complex (pictured) which includes a listed 1895 pump-house and deliver additional new build spaces. Nearby landmarks include the Antwerp Port House by Zaha Hadid Architects.

Any public sector client in Flanders may use the system to procure its architects. Applicants must register online and may apply for one or more projects.

How to apply


The deadline for applications is 11pm local time on 20 August

Contact details

Vlaamse Bouwmeester
Arenbergstraat 9


Visit the competition website for more information

View the contract notice for more information

Deinze Town Hall case study: Q&A with Tony Fretton

The director of Tony Fretton Architects discusses lessons learned designing a new town hall for Deinze as part of an earlier open call programme

How did your Open Call-winning Deinze Town Hall project deliver a suitable civic space for its local area?

The process managed by Bouwmeister’s office made the client, the City of Deinze focus its thinking. The project and those proposed around it were already planned according to a previous urban design competition. The clients were committed to achieving a durable long-term building for the city with appropriate civic imagery. The Flemish system is far better at achieving quality architecture and civic planning than the UK.

Deinze Town Hall by Tony Fretton Architects

Deinze Town Hall by Tony Fretton Architects

Source: Image by Peter Cook

Deinze Town Hall by Tony Fretton Architects

Which architectural, material and other methods did you harness in your design?

Standard Flemish materials of stone, good precast and anodised aluminium. Passive control of insolation, renewable energy

What advice would you have to contest participants on taking part in the latest Open Call?

Clarity and courage. Also patience, you might never hear the outcome, or hear very late.

Deinze Town Hall by Tony Fretton Architects

Deinze Town Hall by Tony Fretton Architects

Source: Image by Peter Cook

Deinze Town Hall by Tony Fretton Architects


Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.