Redevelopment of a square in a dense neighbourhood. The design wants to create a neighbourhood patio, a central meeting point providing space for sports, play and other activities.
Context. The Frans Van Hoombeeckplein is a central square in the vijfhoek neighbourhood in Berchem. It’s a crucial element in an important structural axis in Oud-Berchem. This chain of recently redeveloped streets and squares consists of: the Jochemsplein (on the other side of the Grotesteenweg) and the Driekoningenstraat -Statiestraat axis, past Berchem station through Zurenborg (via the Draakplaats to the Dageraadplaats).
Approach. The former square was surrounded by visually powerful trees. In order to keep as many trees as possible, the new parking lot (105 cars in two layers) was designed to be as compact as possible.
In order to emphasize the square’s role in the central axis, we used materials and furnishings which refer to this axis. The materials cannot be separated from the context. This vision inspired the following choices: the Van Hombeeckstraat (as an extension of the Driekoningenstraat) has a driving lane paved with asphalt, parking lots paved with reused cobblestone and sidewalks in sawn sandstone cobblestones.
The square itself is mainly defined by the existing framework of trees. The trees are placed in a passe-partout of water-permeable semi-paving, a natural transition between the space for traffic, the school, the terraces at the edge of the square (cobblestone) and the central square (asphalt). The inner square is a no-traffic zone and provides space for various activities from basketball to concerts on warm summer nights.