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Gulden Bodem

Master plan for new urban development and unit design

Sint-Truiden, Belgium
2008-2017, Contractor bidding
Liburni Projects
a2o-architecten
6 ha (170 units)

The master plan aims to unite the peripheral and agricultural areas around Sint-Truiden’s town centre in a sound way. Alternating country zones and residential zones is a strategy to, on the one hand, bring and keep the characteristic countryside close to the centre of Sint-Truiden, and on the other hand to provide sufficient space for compression. To achieve these objectives, our master plan attempts to mediate between countryside and built-up area.

The urban expansion concerned, is grafted onto the countryside’s morphology. Citizens will have to be able to still experience the countryside’s characteristics. The boundary with the countryside is pushed forward. The original countryside consists of meadows and fruit culture, with small, sometimes even historic, orchards. The name of the location speaks for itself:‘gulden bodem’ (golden soil).

 

The project area is wedge-shaped and is located between two ribbon roads that leave from the town centre. The town’s spatial structure plan opts for a soft link, supported by sufficient amounts of vegetation. In our view, the green space is interpreted as opening up the existing countryside and enriching the countryside vocabulary, using a few targeted interventions in terms of water management, occupational quality, et cetera.

The wedge shape is not cut by the opening up of the residential zones. The residential zones do not generate any traffic that does not belong there. Some of the old tractor tracks are reused as soft links for cyclists and pedestrians.

From this mosaic of meadows, orchards and built-up zones, a transition is made between the town of Sint-Truiden and its surrounding countryside, consisting primarily of small villages and landscape development.

The residential zones are characterised by typologies that seek a relationship with the countryside. They have a small scale and a view of the green fields. Each residential zone distinguishes itself by a unique morphology and each ‘green field’ is determined by the relationship with the surrounding countryside elements.

The entire development takes place in three phases. In the first phase, there is a mixture of patio houses, residential houses and some small communal housing projects. In the case of the patio houses, the boundary between houses and countryside consists of garden walls and hedges. The residential houses face the square and a private garden. The small communal housing projects consist of stacked apartments with very large balconies, completely surrounded by the countryside.

Special attention has been paid to lifelong living. Some of the houses have been designed in such a way that they can be split.

When the children have left home, the upper floor can be closed off and accessed separately.

Gulden Bodem Gulden Bodem
Gulden Bodem Gulden Bodem Gulden Bodem