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De Blinkert // ECHO urban design


Text description provided by the architects.

A large brownfield destined for a new development of 180 households, despite it being in a rather complex setting. There is a high contrast between a strong urban backdrop with large mid-century residential blocks on one end and a more sub-urban ambience on the other. Next to that contrast, it is bordered by a traffic-infused road and adjacent to a somewhat solely situated park.

The field itself is home to a member-only sports club, the building almost being an island in the midst of the empty plot, with its back turned on it. Organic connectionWithin the urban design we prioritize an adaptation with the existing surroundings to soften the high contrast. We use subtle and obvious elements to create that organic connection and make sure these are embedded in the development.

All elements are united at the core of the new area and collectively form an identity. For this, we took inspiration from the 1970’s municipal outdoor swimming pool that vacated this field decades ago but was a thriving location of the local community back in the day. Within the design there are several references to this cultural heritage.

The large basin being the most defining element of this reconfiguration. A living parking deckOur first step is to not only take parking facilities out of sight, but underground. And to add a living habitat upon its deck with bushes and small trees that can prosper on a thick layer of soil of up to 80 centimeters.

Next to it being a natural water reservoir and a nature inclusive space, it significantly enhances the livability and ‘curve-appeal’ of this area in a way that even a developer sees the added value. The development as part of the existing parkThe living parking deck has flowing taluds and is easily passable.

It is a visible extension of the existing park and therefore stamps out the somewhat isolated setting of it into an organic unity. This newly enhanced park creates that much-needed connection with the existing neighborhood. For even more residents to enjoy this new inclusive landscape. Smart configuration of buildingsBuildings are configured in a way to create a smooth transition from the existing high-rise urban area on one side, to the low-rise suburban area on the other.

In addition, a transition can also be made by architecture. A layered design – with a clear contrast between upper and lower layers – ensures a friendlier appearance on a ground level. This is further emphasized by well-designed connections from the buildings toward the public space. Sports and well-being embeddedThe exclusive sports club becomes an inclusive element in the transformation.

We have created an outdoor concept of spaces and frames for active use by both members and residents. It transforms the back door of the sports club into an inviting feature; a public space for sports and play. A large framework will be placed against the back facade. It will function as a collective hang-out for members and residents, but there is also room for own initiatives.

The large frame, as well as the smaller ones are multifunctional and modular structures that can be re-used differently in the future.A place with an identity where it all comes togetherAll different elements are united at the core, to form a new identity. It will have an arena-like appearance, with tribunes leading up to the park.

It’s not just a physical connection to the park, but also a reference to the area’s past as a communal outdoor swimming pool. Several landscaping details will revive the cultural heritage attached to this location. Inspiration has been taken from the former basins, tribunes, changing cubicles and diving boards to shape the area into a place for sports and well-being for urbanites.

An equally designed unityAn inclusive urban area with social housing, mid-segment rental and owned properties equally distributed across the plan. Dwellings will size from 50 up to 150 square meters. Inclusivity is also safe guarded by publicly opening the whole landscape. Everyone in- and outside the area has access and will find useable space for different activities.

De Blinkert Gallery

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