Station Axes Mechelen
In Mechelen, Belgium, a thorough renovation awaits the Stationsas (station axis) – the main route from the railway station to the Grote Markt. The city’s goal is was to transform the Stationsas into Flanders’ most open and comfortable public space that is prepared for the city´s future natural development.
According to the brief, the street – running from the classic urban expansion district into the heart of the medieval center – is to be transformed into the principal public spaces, the main shopping street, a thoroughfare for public transport all while being the greenest possible axis. Quite a challenge for a street that, in the present situation, begins as a main access road and is intersected by busy traffic routes at crucial locations.
The proposed Stationsas includes three streets that range in width from narrow to wide, and three squares, each of which have their own features. The artery characteristic of the axis is underlined by a strong palette of straightforward materials and colors that weld the squares into a single, richly varied yet highly characteristic route. The layout of the squares, in turn, provides a rich variety of experiences and atmospheres. From the station, the route first traverses the Koning Albertplein diagonally in the direction of the Hendrik Consciencestraat. This intersection is an ideal place to wander, it is a square covered with large-crowned trees and lined with cafes and retail spaces. Visitors continue and arrive at the Cardinal Mercierplein, where the bobbing crowns of pruned lime trees escort them to the Vesten. The Vesten trees reach deep into the heart of the square and form a green gate by which the route enters Mechelen’s ancient city center.
Through the Graaf van Egmontstraat, a spacious shopping street, the route passes Vijfhoek, a small square with steps leading down to the water and pleasant seating on the river Dijle. The view across the river is to the botanical gardens. Across the bridge, the Bruul is a medieval street turned comfortable shopping street, with the addition of trees and a narrower profile. Just before the Grote Markt lies the Botermarkt where the Tilia creates a pleasant little square near the large retail chain stores.
A bit further on lies the Coolvliet: one of the historic streams that still hides under the street´s surface. The regeneration of the Coolvliet has made it a pleasant urban stream, flanked by plenty of seating for people taking a break or meeting in the city center
- Location: Stationsstraat, Mechelen, Belgium
- (Nederlands) schetsontwerp: inzending Open Oproep 2012
- Client: (Nederlands) Gemeente Mechelen