2009 - ongoing
2009 - ongoing
The team of Bureau B+B and SeARCH drew up a long-term vision for the redevelopment of this 35-hectare area between Bocholt’s city centre and the nearby Aa lake. The result is a clear roadmap and design strategy to transform the area into a lively, multifunctional city district: the Kulturquartier.
Bocholt is an old German textile town. The world-famous blue-and-red chequered tea towels were produced here for more than two centuries. Along the river Aa, a small-scale industrial landscape emerged, with its typical shed roofs, brick walls, chimneys and production relics. Despite its central location, the area is virtually unknown to the local population: for decades, the River Aa formed the back of this part of the city. In the plan, the river regains its central position in the city: the river connects the area with the centre and with the Aa lake. Until recently, however, the river ran hidden behind factories. By creating new paths, decks and bridges, it becomes possible to experience the water. Bicycle routes are connected and footpaths run along the river.
The Aa will be widened in several places so its quays no longer overflow at high tide. Nature-friendly riverbanks have been constructed where water plants and reedbeds purify the water. The rough vegetation emphasises the contrast between industry and ecology; the Aa river will become the lifeline of KuBAaI Bocholt. The industrial heritage is also awaiting redevelopment. Bureau B+B and SeARCH mapped out the traces of the industrial past and revalued them. The starting point of the design is the preservation of the current raw, industrial atmosphere; the scale of the buildings, the architecture and the spontaneous vegetation. By doing so, the industrial oasis and intimate atmosphere of the area will be retained and at the same time made accessible.
The narrow streets between the factory complexes, the walls along them, the wild vegetation, the different paving surfaces and the large gates will remain the defining spatial elements of the area. Together with the Aa river, this collection of relics is the starting point for the transformation of the area. Following the streets, new bridges will connect the two banks. The eye-catcher is the ‘podium bridge’, which was inaugurated in 2019. This bridge links the new Textile Museum with new paths, lanes and tracks that make the area accessible and connect the town centre with the Aa lake as well as the residential areas that surround the planning area.
The plan by Bureau B+B and SeARCH shows how a rich history and hidden qualities can serve as a good basis for future developments. The plan is a generator that initiates a gradual transformation with small interventions, convincingly adding new layers to an existing area one step at a time.