Arches on the Agora

Merckt sits at the center of Groningen – the Grote Markt – its historical market square and beating heart, where it completes the square’s eastern flank and responds to centuries of imbued history. Characterful slender arches and a carefully chosen color palette refer subtly to the city’s beloved Martini Tower, standing out as an elegantly sensitive yet uniquely distinct addition to the city’s main agora. Merckt was shortlisted for the Brick Awards.


Time span2016 - 2020
Size5 100 m²
LocationGroningen, NL
TypeLiving, Public Spaces, Recognitions
Partner in charge
Stefan Prins
Project team
Frank Loer
Andreea Nae
Wiktor Kudzin
Maruli Heijman
Max Nossin

Steeped in History

The square has been the city’s focal point for centuries
Merchants and visitors flock to the square
Shopping streets surround the marketplace
01 - 03

Making the Market

The Martini Tower rises behind Merckt
The Martini Tower rises behind Merckt

Making the Market

Besides providing 18 homes, Merckt is a building for the city and its dwellers – with a semi-public open plinth containing a multi-storey food market with a restaurant and locally brewed beer, it’s a lively addition to the streetscape of the vibrant square. Placed at the perimeter of this busy hub, it forms an essential link in the urban fabric. With its accessible plinth, the lower floors act as a conduit between various streets connecting the Grote Markt, Nieuwe Markt, Poelestraat and Oosterstraat.

Slender arches and graceful curves

The elegant curves of the Martini Tower are echoed in Merckt’s streamlined arches, stitching it into the fabric of the city.

A Modern Classic

Connections to the shopping street
Connections to the shopping street

A Modern Classic

Merckt is characterized by a classic façade with a plinth, midsection, and crown. With parametrically designed concrete arches in its plinth, Merckt rises to a midsection of pale brick – locally fabricated from Groningen clay – that echoes the color of the building that once stood on the same site. Vertical lines in gold that catch the sunlight accentuate the building’s verticality, juxtaposed with the horizontal grain of the stone.

Merckt responds to Groningen’s rich past with a parametrically designed facade – merging slender arches with locally sourced stone.

Brick-clad facade with a delicate, low-contrast palette of colours

Leeway for Elegance

Connections to the shopping street

Leeway for Elegance

Merckt consists of a delicate, low-contrast palette of colors, blending carefully within its surroundings. On eye level, you can experience the publicly accessible plinth that opens up towards the city through rows of striking, slender arches that subtly refer to the Martini Tower and city hall architecture. The midsection contains the private elements: spacious and light filled apartments.

Award winning design for the Grote Markt and the Poelestraat corner building
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