Mercado Groningen

The “Mercado Groningen” project was initiated by real estate developers MWPO and Beauvast with the vision of transforming a small, ordinary street into the vibrant heart of Groningen’s inner city. To bring this ambitious idea to life, two renowned architecture firms, Loer Architecten and De Zwarte Hond, joined forces in a collaborative effort.

Mercado Sketch
Sketch by De Zwarte Hond


Mercado Groningen is a multifaceted development consisting of two distinct components: a bustling market on the ground floor and luxurious apartments situated above. The design embodies resilience, contemporaneity, and practicality while exuding inward and outward aesthetic appeal. The transparent design of the building’s base allows the market’s light to illuminate the surrounding streets at night, creating an inviting atmosphere. The 41 thoughtfully designed apartments appear spacious and bright, ensuring a warm and welcoming ambience for residents and visitors alike. The harmonious integration of large windows, green terracotta elements, and lush plants in the façade further enhances the overall visual appeal. Additionally, the stepped roofs provide ample space for cultivating flowers and plants.

Rendering of Mercado Groningen

Rendering by Colordot


The façade incorporates approximately 1,400m² of green glazed terracotta, skilfully integrated around windows and balcony doors. To achieve a remarkable sense of depth and playfulness, eight different dies were employed, with extruded shapes cut to specific lengths and angles. The green glaze, resembling the brilliance of emeralds, is achieved through NBK’s unique double-fire process, ensuring a consistent glazed finish on all surfaces and edges. This meticulous approach enhances the aesthetic appeal of visible edges, contributing to the overall visual harmony. The application of a semi-transparent FLUID GLAZE, known for its higher liquidity, allows the glaze to flow according to the panel’s geometry, resulting in a consistent variation in glaze density. This interplay between natural light, the clay’s inherent colour and texture, and the glaze’s density results in an intricate visual experience. Each viewing angle and time of day unveils a new and captivating pattern, adding to the overall allure of the façade.

Close up of a terracotta panel

Photo by Andreas Lechtape


Given that the terracotta panels function as framing elements for windows and balcony doors, they had to be mounted vertically and horizontally. To facilitate this, all panels underwent meticulous pre-assembly in the factory, including precise cut angles and drill hole placements, along with a pre-assembled back-fixing solution. This approach ensured that the construction process involved simply mounting each panel in its designated position, similar to assembling furniture from IKEA. The façade pattern, with its specific arrangement of terracotta panels, results in six to eight individual panels forming different cross-sections at each window corner. These corners feature an open joint pattern, further enhancing the overall aesthetic integrity thanks to the glazed edges and eliminating the need for adhesives.

Corner Mercado Groningen

Photo by Andreas Lechtape


The culmination of exceptional craftsmanship is a cohesive façade with no singular aesthetically dominant element. Instead, they serve to highlight and complement one another. Terracotta panels serve as elegant window frames, while the windows accentuate the structure’s countenance. Lastly, vibrant shrubbery adds life and vitality to what might appear lifeless otherwise. The resulting appearance perfectly befits a project dedicated to revitalizing its neighbourhood, creating a visually striking and inviting environment.

Mercado Groningen

Photo by Andreas Lechtape


De Zwarte Hond & Loer Architecten
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Brian Immel
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