The Euroregion derailed, is an exhibition that looks at cross-border urbanization and rail development in the Meuse valley between Liège and Maastricht.
In 2018 a three-country rail network was expected to be operational, between Aachen, Liège and Maastricht, but the Belgian-Dutch connection is still falling behind. Is this a sign of failing political cooperation or are it really just technical problems that can be solved? What does the rail connection actually have to offer for Liège, Maastricht and the border region between them?Are interests aligned, and is there consensus about what the transnational connection should promote? Can innovations in mobility and logistics lead to more compact cities? Or do they accelerate suburbanization in the Maas valley?
Through contributions from various architects, students, photographers, sociologists and civil servants these questions for the border region where examined and discussed during the opening conference.
Urban Redevelopment Strategy
Tacloban was hit by a devastating hurricane in 2014. In the aftermath a decision was made to develop the north of the city and to relocate vulnerable households further from the coastline. The displacement of vulnerable communities, however, has time and time again been shown to create more problems than it solves.
Our office was part of the United Nations Urban Lab team that was asked to assist the municipality of Tacloban with the development of a climate change adaptation growth strategy. This was meant to incorporate the remnants of the original relocation sites in the North into a comprehensive urban plan.
The proposal is based on a 3-tiered approach. First it aims to stimulate growth in safe areas through the strategic investment in public road, water and sewage infrastructures. Second, the plan clusters amenities and educational facilities around well connected and safe intersections. Last, a clear drainage network will double as public space and environmental reserve, but also functions as a buffer during floods and storm surges.
The design of the municipal building and the Port Gitana hotel plays on the tension between the specific context of Lake Geneva and the universal force of globalization and standardization. This is reflected in the distinction between the ground floor and the upper floors.
The public base of the building is characterized by expressive natural stones in solid granite which are extracted in rough blocks from local quarries. The oversized stones refer to the rocks that can be found in Lake Geneva and form a specific understanding of time and scale. By manufacturing the blocks in different ways (breakage, sawing, polishing), the elements inside and outside provide different impressions and atmospheres.
The upper floors are conceptually understood as the universal part of the program with clients of international hotels, meeting rooms and sustainability measures. This part of the building is executed with precast concrete elements in a generic grid structure. The architectural tension between the base and the upper layer thus symbolizes the position of our contemporary culture which always consists of place-specific and universal influences.
An assignment to build a carport was re-envisioned as an opportunity to improve the garden of a 18th century villa. The massing seeks to be invisible from the street which is protected under stringent Dutch heritage laws, while seeking to maximize impact in the garden, which was only begin used partially.
The pergola is built around various existing trees creating an interplay between the rigid metal frame and the bent tree trunks. The construction is set into various extruded planes made from rough fired bricks thereby creating a strong contrast between the slender steel tectonic and the heavy brick foundations.
Experimental construction with modular low emission concrete
The Circular Concrete Pavilion is an experimental construction project that seeks to better understand and communicate strategies to make the concrete industry more sustainable. The project explores the tectonic implications of new recycling techniques, modularity, and co2 reducing binders. The project was conceived in collaboration with van Hattum Blankevoort one the Netherlands largest infrastructure contractors. The project is planned in the Green Village at the Delft University of Technology and is will then travel, thereby revealing the prospects of modular infrastructure.
The development of mobility has a direct and indirect influence on the build environment and vice versa. The formation of urban agglomeration and multi city center urban structures are both cause and result of the rail and road network. Railway station areas are important spacial and economic nodes within these dynamic structures. The mobility landscape is continuously in change. In recent decennia the traditional role of a public transport node is slowly but steadily changing to the role of a general mobility node. As consequence of this transition, its relationship to the urban environment needs to be redefined.
In commission of the college van rijksadviseurs and in collaboration with the province of Limburg and the municipality of Eijsden-Margraten we have researched by the means of design research the possibilities of a train station in an urban periphery in the boarder area of the province of Zuid-Limburg. Here two scenario’s have been put forth in which the consequences of preservation en closure of the station by the year of 2040 have been researched and questioned. This research was conducted in context of a regional urban analysis on the impact of cross-boarder mobility, by the means of a tri-country train connection, which will bind Liège (L), Maastricht (NL) and Aachen (D) in the future.