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urban design

Master plan for the transformation of the former border crossing in Rekkem

A cross-border landmark along the highway

Menen, BE

Two questions determined our approach to this project that should lead to an inspirational and practical manual for the future development of the former border crossing. How can we combine the idea of a landmark in the center of the Eurometropolis with its peripheral location in the middle of an agricultural landscape? How can we direct the image quality of this landmark while there is no certainty about the future program, except the need for a new truck parking?

Based on an evaluation of the existing project site and its surroundings and on an analysis of the minimal program, we determine the constraints, threats and opportunities for the development of this landmark. After this we explored four diverse spatial and programmatic scenarios: ‘mobility node’, ‘recreational transition point’, ‘energy Island’ and ‘eco village’. These inspiring scenarios each represent a way of combining the existing context and new program into a landmark with a distinct identity.

After this we developed a base plan in which the minimal program is integrated into the site. From this design study, we distilled a basic spatial framework that will shape the qualitative transformation of the site. The plan contains three main elements: the highway landscape, the intermediary landscape and the recreational connection.

Within this spatial framework many different developments are possible. This is necessary since there is no certainty about the future program of the site. We organize this with a system of fixed and variable fields. We demonstrate how more or less program is balanced out with more or less landscape. The intermediary landscape, using the existing topography, is made up of a large water-basis to the north of the site and of an energy garden, with expressive vegetation, to the south. This intermediary landscape clearly defines the edges of the landmark, but at the same time also forms the transition with the surrounding landscape. We illustrate the specific architectural possibilities in this intermediary landscape.

Project Facts

Scope of work

Making a master plan and image quality guidelines for the transformation of the former border crossing in Rekkem (Menen)

Collaboration

H+N+S (landscape architect), Buro Move (expert mobility)

Location

Menen, BE

Scale

15 ha project area

Client

Flemish Department for Mobility and Public Works, with support of the team of the Flemish Chief Architect

Status

Completed, 2014

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