ANTWERP / Over the ring South

ANTWERP / Over the ring South

The project “Over the ring: South” is part of an extended territorial reflection on the future of Antwerp’s ring road infrastructure. This project explores covering the ring road in strategic locations in order to create opportunities for urban connections, public space and future development. The core ambition is to (re)create a continuity in the city to repair the infrastructural rupture created by the ring road when it was introduced in the 1960s. The project area is situated along 4 km of infrastructures and includes all existing urban and landscape edges. How can covering portions of the ring road also become a tool that triggers progressive transformation of the territory?

The project of the ring is an illustration of the exceptional opportunities created by prioritizing the city of tomorrow over the infrastructures of the previous century. The future city is defined by its network of slow and public transportation systems, by collective spaces and ecological reserves, with its mixed urban developments, its nodes of metropolitan and local activities, all with respect to the greater landscape which functions as an armature for creating new spatial and visual connections.

Within the large-scale vision for the masterplan, pilot projects are strategically formulated based on their capacity to initiate a progressive transformation of the larger site. Pilot projects focus on the longitudinal continuities alongside the entire ring road, as, for example, hydrological or ecological strategies, or strategies against noise and air pollution. Other pilot projects develop spatial proposals for key points on site that can connect neighborhoods or create metropolitan nodes.

Intense dialogue with the inhabitants and community groups established project objectives and revealed the many points of view, constraints and opportunities of the site. Through workshops, site walks, presentations and individual dialogues, a critical link has been established between the design team and the site’s inhabitants and users.

DIEPENBEEK / Campus

DIEPENBEEK / Campus

An eco-campus for Diepenbeek

The continuous development of the site of the campus in Diepenbeek demands a reflection on larger scales. Occupying a strategic position between Hasselt, Genk and Diepenbeek, the site is related to larger-scale environmental conditions including ecologically active areas and flood zones. Thus the project is conceptualized at a regional scale rather than delimited by the site of today’s campus. Various elements inform this new masterplan that will structure the campus’ growth for the coming decade: water, ecology, slow and public transport, built structures.

A central urban axis will organize the expansion of the campus. This new east-west backbone, largely composed of public space, is a great connector and collector that weaves together academic faculties, research institutes and campus services buildings. This central structure will act as the new spine of the campus, welcoming students to professional life, cultural and social activities.

The spatial strategy for the expansion of the campus is inspired by the three characteristic landscapes of the site: the forests and lakes along the Miezerikbeek, the meadows of the Demer Valley and the agricultural fields surrounded by planted dykes. Diverse typologies and principles are developed in order to reinforce these landscapes, all with respect for their contributions to enriching biodiversity.

As a fundamental strategy, the campus will transform by adjusting mobility and parking strategies, introducing a north-south connection of public spaces and a hub for public transport and by reinforcing the characteristic landscapes of the territory.

The first expansion of the campus will be structured within the landscape of the agricultural fields and planted dykes, where the central east-west axis will be densified and actively programmed.

BRUSSELS / Metropolitan Landscapes : Molenbeek Valley

BRUSSELS / Metropolitan Landscapes : Molenbeek Valley

The Molenbeek Valley is a historical landscape, rich in natural environments and activities, and reflects the opportunities and threats for the position of landscape and (peripheral) open space within the metropolitan development of Brussels. With its position between the regions of Flanders, and the Brussels Capital Region, the valley is marked by an administrative and political rupture in addition to  the large contrast between city and countryside. Therefore, the Molenbeek valley is a hinge territory, offering much potential to become an instigator for the development of tomorrow’s peripheral Brussels.

In this research by design project, the urban fabric is reflected and shaped by its landscape structures, primarily read in section. The strategy for the development of the Molenbeek Valley is based upon the topographical characteristics of the site. This leads to the definition of multiple morpho-typologies of open space depending on their height within the valley structure: hilltop, cascade and low valley. These functional as well as spatial typologies translate into locations: for a (metropolitan) landmark, for an intensive confrontation with the urban tissue or for a natural corridor.

The overall vision for the Valley is to create a productive park for Brussels West, inducing a mind shift in the metropolis and allowing the urgent problematic of food sustainability to become visible. The park will introduce short circuits, and will combine ecological, productive and public spaces into one coherent (peri-urban) landscape structure. The relation with the surrounding tissue is essential in this respect. Diverse pilot projects have been pre-defined for the different sequences (rural, hinge or urban) of the park.

The metropolitan landscape of the Molenbeek Valley becomes a hinge and lever for the development of the Northwestern periphery of Brussels.

AIX-LA-CHAPPELLE–LIMBURG / Green Metropolis

AIX-LA-CHAPPELLE–LIMBURG / Green Metropolis

The site is vast (300 km2) and the goal is to create a regional-scale territorial strategy. A task that is all the more demanding given that this territory, made up of a mosaic of urban, agricultural, natural and industrial areas, shares its borders between Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.

To promote the emergence of a tri-national identity, the team led by Agence Ter chose to interconnect the fragmented spaces rather than homogenise them, and studied the deconstructed strata of the territory, leading to the discovery of an underground coal seam that extends across the three countries forming a significant field shared by their populations. The designers suggest, on the surface, an echo of this invisible layer: its footprint becomes that of the «Green Metropolis» project, extending beyond the administrative limits.

The new territory is structured by two main roads: the green road and the metropolitan road. The former connects the regional parks following the line of the river banks; it is a long bike lane giving meaning to these natural spaces, a physical location. The metropolitan road links the main urban centres.

In designing the Green Metropolis project, Agence Ter and its associates participated in the development of a strategy offering a common destiny for the fragmented spaces of a cross-border agglomeration.