Buda Fabric: a renovated factory linking economy and culture
The west of Flanders is currently coping with a low level of entrepreneurial activity, and limited economic development. In order to counter these circumstances, the City of Kortrijk is developing several projects in its city centre, among which is Buda Fabric. The former textile factory around which this project is centred is situated on Buda Island in the centre of Kortrijk.
Issue: a new direction for Buda island
In the 80s and 90s this area was a thriving centre, but with the relocation of several commercial and recreational functions a period of decline set in. Since the turn of the century, the City Council has made an effort to accommodate new functions in the abandoned industrial heritage. In that light, a cinema was redeveloped into a centre for the arts, and an old brewery into offices for artists in residence and cultural organisations.
Objective: converting an abandoned factory into a new multifunctional facility
Through these interventions, Buda Island has developed into a centre for art and creativity. The achievement of Buda Fabric would reinforce and expand on these existing potentials. The former textile factory in which Buda Fabric is being realised is rather large, and by its size alone this empty property had a strong impact on the area. By its convertion, it can however play an important role in further revitalising this part of the city.Thus, this ERDF project focuses on the conversion of the old factory into Buda Fabric, within which the achievement of six sub-aims is envisaged:
- The creation of a meeting space for product developers, academics, designers, knowledge institutes, artists and entrepreneurs;
- The development of a space for the exchange of knowledge and communication among a diverse range of actors from different sectors;
- The realisation of a production facility;
- The installation of an exhibition room for art expositions for a broad public;
- The building up of an international network around Buda Fabric by means of the organisation of symposia and arts festivals, and the interlinking of networks;
- The development of comfortable and representative work spaces.
Approach: Buda Fabric will function on the intersection of economy and culture
Through the renovation and conversion of the abandoned textile factory into Buda Fabric, which is co-financed by ERDF funding, a site for interaction between economy, innovation and arts is created. Creativity and innovation are the backbone of the modern economy, and by realising this project on the intersection of economy and culture the City of Kortrijk means to strengthen this dynamic. “Fabric” refers to the Dutch word “fabriek”, and also to a closely intertwined web of threads; in the same way, Buda Fabric will closely interlink designers, project developers, students, artists and academics in order to increase cross-pollination in the field of innovative products and applications, and new materials.Furthermore, Buda Fabric will reinforce the cultural image of Buda Island and increase the profile of Kortrijk as a city of innovation, creativity and design.
Results: the construction phase has started
The building activities started by the beginning of 2011, and are now still in the middle of being carried out. The delivery of the renovated building is planned for autumn 2012, from which point onwards the activities within Buda Fabric can be brought into being.
Influence Cohesion Policy: indispensable for achieving international ambitions
The ERDF funding covers
40% of the total investment. The funding has
triggered the involvement of the Flemish government as well, to the
tune of 15% of the total costs. The Buda Fabric project has an
ambition to go beyond the local level: it will have a clear
provincial, regional and even international role.
The financial support from
the Flemish and EU levels has been a crucial condition for the
success of this project.
The Buda fabric project aims are closely related to European goals in the areas of innovation and economic development. The international component of the project, which is formulated as the fifth aim of the initiative, will receive close attention in the coming years. In the first phase, partnerships between the Euro-region of Kortrijk (B), Doornik (B) and Lille (F) will be encouraged: though this element of the project is beyond ERDF funding, cross-border cooperation is a clear goal of the funds as well.
Integrated development: interlinking renovation, economic development and cultural activities
Buda Fabric is being developed within
the general scope of the revitalisation efforts made on Buda
Island. This dossier is part of an integral
approach to this end, which combines the renovation of the area,
the development of economic activities and the stimulation of
cultural developments. These actions jointly aim to create a
higher quality physical environment, and high quality
When the building phase is concluded, the programmatic development of Buda Fabric will be fully integrated with existing local actors. Organisations and knowledge partners within the city and wider region should provide a new and sustainable, thoroughly multidisciplinary economic fabric in the area.
Spin-offs: a flexible management structure allows additional partners to join
As the project has not yet proceeded beyond the construction phase, there have as yet not been tangible spin-offs. Nonetheless, follow-up projects are confidently expected as a result of the close cooperation in which different actors and sectors will work within Buda Fabric. In order to achieve this a flexible management structure has been developed, in which the Municipality of Kortrijk, the Autonomous Municipal Cooperation (AGB Buda, a consortium of all the cultural institutions on Buda Island), the Design region of Kortrijk, Howest (University College West Flanders) and the intercommunal organisation Leiedal take part. The internal statute on which this management structure is based is flexible, so that in the future new participants can join it. This will enrich the programming as well as geographical broadening of Buda Fabric.
Lessons learned: support in the application process is very important
The Municipality of Kortrijk has gained extensive experience in using EU funding in its projects. This experience has helped to avoid the administrative difficulties that have sometimes been reported. The high quality of coaching by the provincial Management Authority and the regional helpdesk has been invaluable in creating a swift approval procedure.
Case | Buda Fabric a renovated factory linking economy and culture
08 Mar 2012, pdf, 74KB