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urban design

Master plan for a building block and design and execution of public space

New fronts towards the extended park

Herentals, BE

A series of developments are planned, in the near future, in a building block strategically located next to the city’s main square. The historic park, located on the corner of the building block, needs a make-over. The public parking needs reorganization. The pedestrian route running through the building block needs to be made comfortable and safe and a new skate park will be installed. Parallel to the design of the public space for this building block, a master plan was designed to steer ongoing and future developments and create a coherent new front towards the green inner building block.

The design aims to expand the historic park through the building block towards the city’s main square. The central element of the renovated building block will be a green open space. The pedestrian route will transform from a narrow path between walls to an open network for pedestrians and cyclists. The current brick walls provoke a feeling of unsafety. These walls will be partially demolished, lowered and activated. They are witnesses of the history and are given a new role in the future. The city park gets a make-over and is opened up towards its surroundings.

A compact parking provides temporary parking directly accessible from the main road, to avoid car traffic entering the city center. For the temporary parking and public space, re-used or re-usable materials are used (pulverized brick, felled tree trunks, movable concrete slabs). The green space is designed to play an active role in the water management of the building block, by including water depths for storm water infiltration in the green open spaces. These water elements evoke the historic stream that ran through the building block.

The surface parking will on the long term be replaced by an extension of the city park. The ambition is to evolve towards a car-free building block, with underground parking. This creates new development possibilities, with new facades facing the public park. The potential of the different plots around the building block is illustrated through contextual in-depth research by design. The new developments mainly consist of housing, but some strategic plots will house a commercial or public function on the ground floor. Current programs, such as a cultural center or a hotel, are integrated to further enliven the inner building block. A diversity of housing typologies, adapted to the context, were developed.

Project Facts

Scope of work

Making a master plan for a building block / Design and execution of the refurbishment of the public space

Collaboration

LAMA (landscape architect), Talboom (technical project support)

Location

Herentals, BE

Schaal

Master plan: 5 ha project area
Refurbishment public space: 1,4 project area

Client

City of Herentals

Contractor

Hegrola

Status

Master plan: Completed, 2016
Refurbishment public space: Completed, 2018

Images