Kapitein Zeppospark

The Kapitein Zeppospark in Ghent is part of the Oude Dokken redevelopment. After the port activities moved northwards, the City of Ghent recognized the area’s potential for development. Based on a master plan by OMA, many building projects have been realized in recent years. At the same time, the inhabitants of Ghent discovered the place for themselves: they organize temporary events that immediately demonstrate the power of the disused harbour environment, akin to an inspiring terrain vague.

In many locations in the late twentieth century, the quality of such harsh environments – silent witnesses to a past of hard human labour – was recognized as an opportunity for developing a new kind of landscape that was grafted onto the history of the sites. An early example is Derek Jarman’s poetic approach to Prospect Cottage in Dungeness (Kent) in 1987 or, on a larger scale, the realization of the Landschaftspark in Duisburg. In the latter case, which dates from the 1990s, the Peter Latz agency added simple natural elements in-between the industrial ruins, thereby transforming a former steel factory into a powerful park with a distinctive aesthetic. Numerous industrial-archaeological relics have similarly been incorporated into the park at the Houtdok in Ghent, akin to follies in eighteenth-century landscaped gardens. These artefacts reference the neighbourhood’s lost industrial identity. The harbour landscape, with its remarkable aspects and artefacts, contrasts with the new planting and the sober wooden play and rest furniture. An urban ecological landscape with different ‘park rooms’ has thus been created, a landscape whose unpolished beauty has been appropriated by a broad range of Ghent residents. If you cycle through the new park on a sunny spring day, you will see groups of teenagers hanging out on a lawn by the water, parents and toddlers in a playground, families celebrating a child’s birthday in a picnic area, couples on the sandy beach overlooking the docks, local girls listening to music on a wooden pontoon while ducks build nests in the reeds … The designers have clearly gone for a user-oriented approach at the site.

- Livia de Bethune

This project is published in Flanders Architectural Review N°15. Alliances with the Real

Project details


Stad Gent


Stad Gent


Public space, sport


Houtdoklaan 36

9000 Gent





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