The former army barracks in Sijsele are transforming into a mixed area with housing, workplaces and recreational facilities. In collaboration with NEXT architects and Arcadis Belgium, Bureau B+B made a preliminary design. The design concept is based on a robust landscape framework, that connects the barracks to their surroundings. The areas within the framework will be developed in a flexible manner, in cooperation with local residents, entrepreneurs and developers.
NEXT architects, Arcadis
There are not only traces of military use at the army barracks, but also of the original countryside and a former plant nursery. These historical layers are the starting point for the identity of the new development. The design is composed of three main landscape zones: a flower garden, the central axis and a series of landscape chambers. The flower garden is situated along the main street, on the location of the former nursery. The central area of the barrack grounds has a park-like atmosphere. Here, a historical tree lane will be restored. This lane is the backbone of the landscape design while serving as the main connection for bicycles and pedestrians. In the southern part of the site, the original hedge structures will be restored, creating landscape chambers. These chambers can host allotments, water infiltration, or housing in a landscape setting. The army barracks will gradually be filled in with a mix of functions and target groups. At the start of the project, the site will be made accessible to the community. Next, the entrance area will be developed, followed by the green axis, the business zone and the innovation hub. The entrance area consists of a square with trees and a market hall. Residential buildings surround the bustling square. The green axis is designed as a park with recreational facilities. Closer to the houses, the landscaping is more communal, with playgrounds for small children. The final program will be developed in consultation with the residents, entrepreneurs and developers of the area.
The design of the transformation of the army barracks is sustainable in different ways. Attention is paid to adjustability, energy, water and mobility. Many existing buildings will be redeveloped, the new buildings will have a flexible construction. There is plenty of room on the site for innovative water management. The natural topography forms the base of the water system. Green roofs buffer rainwater, that subsequently infiltrates into wadis and wetlands. Pavement is permeable where possible. Public space is designed to facilitate walking and biking, and discourage driving a car. The program will develop in a flexible and gradual manner, making it possible to adjust the plans to changing techniques and understandings.