Cam dendermonde 03 FINAL resized

Giving the streets back to the people

OYO were approached to collaborate on a PPS development in Dendermonde’s city centre. The project would provide residential, commercial and public spaces, but a central challenge involved designing a structure that wouldn’t contribute to the city’s ongoing battle with congestion on its main street… We had to ask ourselves, how could we create a new landmark space that was useful to residents, without further burdening the city’s infrastructure?

  • Client: Uplace
  • Location: Dendermonde, Belgium
  • Category: Living, Urban Design
  • Program: Mixed-use development & public square
  • Status: Under construction
  • Building area: 23.692 m²
  • Collaborators: Cordeel
Schematics OYO Dendermonde1

Collaborating, not compromising

We knew that creating a win/win between the developer and the city was the only way to create something everyone would be satisfied with. So, one of the first outputs we worked with all stakeholders to agree were a set of key objectives:

  1. Create desirable residential housing in the city centre
  2. Help solve the immediate parking issues
  3. Create space for businesses without contributing to congestion
  4. Introduce valuable public space that restores the city’s historically rich water landscape.
  5. Contribute to people’s wellbeing and biodiversity
Schematics OYO Dendermonde7

Reintegrating valuable public space into the city centre that interacts with the green network of outer Dendermonde

The boulevard

One of the key aspects of our design was the creation of two residential blocks with the space between them used to define an attractive open air public place; a central boulevard providing a safe connection for pedestrians and cyclists to the market square at the heart of the city.

AM Uplace Hofvan Saeys EXT03 4 K Preview3 20200108
Credits: Around Media

An urban clinic

Instead of only creating space for restaurants and shops, we conceived of the ground floor as a space for community orientated businesses – a kind of ‘urban clinic’. It would become a typology at the centre of the city supporting various health practices – dentists, chiropractors, physical therapists etc. This would give every city resident a practical relationship with the centre of their town.

20201012 Up La Dendermonde storyscheme ks 01
defining plot area
20201012 Up La Dendermonde storyscheme ks 02
giving rise to a boulevard
20201012 Up La Dendermonde storyscheme ks 03
creating open space without limiting housing opportunities
20201012 Up La Dendermonde storyscheme ks 04
opening up towards the abbey park
20201012 Up La Dendermonde storyscheme ks 05
preserving the abbey wall as a gateway to the park
AM Uplace Hofvan Saeys EXT02 4 K Preview3 20200107
Credits: Around Media

This project allowed us to bring this water to the surface again. Today it provides a beautiful water feature at the centre of the town to be enjoyed by residents and wildlife.

Schematics OYO Dendermonde3
Schematics OYO Dendermonde5
biodiversity & urban climate
Schematics OYO Dendermonde4

Giving the streets back to the people

With this development we physically put health and wellbeing at the centre of the city. We increased biodiversity. Eased congestion rather than contributed to it. We created more ‘lifecycle proof’ homes. And we gave people back more of their streets by creating one of the largest open air boulevards in town.

Nigel Jooren, Ferran Massip, Eddy Soete, Nathalie Landrieu, Emiel Volckaert, Antoine Le Gouyer, Marta Lopez, Vincenzo Mallardo, Miguel Sousa, Maria Navarro, Alessandro Fontanella, Daniel Poleac, Emilie Gransard, Ahmed Fetahu, Hoi Kee Man, Koen Maertens, Claudia Suller, Varvara Oikonomou, Luc Vreugdenhil

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