The City of Antwerp commissioned this study after a proposal to rezone the project site as an industrial and retail zone was questioned. Especially the effects on the mobility around the project site of retail activity were met with great concerns, as the area is currently already very congested. Our research showed how innovative typologies allowed other programs, like housing, to be mixed in with the retail, and how this could result in a more acceptable traffic structure.
BRUT was asked to research if other programs, with a smaller impact on traffic, could be possible or interesting. Our own methodology of research by design was used to explore all spatial possibilities, with special attention to ways of integrating housing. The methodology consisted of a quick scan analysis and thematic scenarios, followed by combined scenarios and an illustrative final scenario highlighting the potential and challenges of the site in an integrated manner.
The research showed foremost that the site could be much more than just a great location for retail or industry along a busy regional road. The eastern edge of the site connects to a large scale landscape structure with one of the forts of the fortification belt around Antwerp, but also to local recreational functions such as a petting zoo. This holds a great potential for a mixed-development, including housing. A new park could plug in into this green structure to serve both the new retail and housing development. New housing typologies were developed, adapted to the logic of the retail and the context of the busy regional road.