Eksterlaer Masterplan Deurne
Masterplan for a residential site
Following the regeneration of its downtown area, which reached cruising speed in recent decades, the city of Antwerp is turning its attention to the 20th-century belt around the city centre. This ‘city outside the city’ currently offers a huge potential to accommodate the expected population growth. At the same time, increasing the density of the ‘extramural’ districts provides an opportunity to introduce new forms of urban living tailored to the more diffuse landscape of Antwerp’s periphery.
quality living in a green environment
The district of Deurne is one such city outside the city, with numerous expansive parks, like Rivierenhof and Groot Schijn. Deurne also has quite a few informal green zones that so far have been spared urbanization. One of these green enclaves is Eksterlaer. This 13-hectare swathe in the middle of an urban setting is currently used for small-scale farming, a fireworks factory, and a football pitch. The rest of the area is green leftover space.
The master plan integrates the enclave into the surrounding fabric of the city in a very organic way. New streets as well as cycle and walking paths extend existing urban routes. Several ‘unfinished’ blocks along the edges of the area are now ‘filled in’. Despite the relatively high residential density – 38 homes per hectare – the green character of the area is preserved in the new neighbourhood. A long, narrow park with ponds is the ‘soft backbone’ of the area, threading the various green areas and public spaces into a single beaded chain.
To facilitate demographic diversification and accommodate both more children and an ageing population, the master plan prescribes a great variety of housing types. Of the 500 residential units, 380 are ground-level houses, including classic terraced houses with private gardens, patio houses, and co-housing homes clustered in various configurations. The 120 apartments are primarily grouped into five taller, narrow apartment buildings in the park and a few lower, free-standing buildings.
"The urban development plan strikes a balance between compactness and openness, proving that high-quality housing in a green setting does not mean a loss of urbanity." – Patrick Lootens, founding partner POLO Architects
images: POLO Architects
Eksterlaar / Dascottelei / Kerkhofweg, Deurne
Cleuren-Merken - Veelaert Architecten & Partners