In 2015 NP-Bridging, together with its partners, won the ‘open call’ of the ‘Vlaams Bouwmeester’ for the project Groenplaats. During the stakeholder’s analysis and concept study of the Groenplaats, it became clear that the project was connected to the surrounding public space. In 2017, NP-Bridging was selected by the city of Antwerp to integrate the Eiermarkt and Beddenstraat to the study and make an integral design for both public spaces.
The Groenplaats is one of the main squares on the ‘Via Sinjoor’, a boulevard for pedestrians that connects the Central Station of Antwerp with the river Scheldt. The square is the most central and intensely used urban space in the whole city of Antwerp where, over the last 25 years, practically every type of urban movement and activity has taken place.In the north-east, the Groenplaats is connected to the Eiermarkt. The width and curved shape of the street refers to its former function as a marketplace, that connected the Groenplaats with the Meirbrug. From this perspective, the Eiermarkt can be seen as a missing link on the ‘Via Sinjoor’.In the last couple of years, the combination of the local initiatives and the intensive use of the Groenplaats and Eiermarkt has resulted in a undefined space. The requirement for a broader picture is quite obvious. Therefore, for the ‘open call of the Vlaams Bouwmeester’, NP-Bridging did not immediately create a design, but made a starting point/ vision, which is seen as a ‘sneuvelconcept’: the vision is intended to give support to all of those who have an interest in a natural development of the Groenplaats (and Eiermarkt). For this reason, the drawings and suggestions are just a little more than a white sheet.The key to a qualitative redevelopment of the Groenplaats and Eiermarkt and its immediate surroundings lies in the meticulous process-oriented guiding and directing all stakeholders and functions around the project. Therefore, NP-Bridging brought together private and public stakeholders and specialists, which resulted in more than 2000 requirements. We found opportunities and conflicts and generated intensive participation and enthusiasm from the local private and governmental organizations. In this sense the project was already connecting its environment without a stone being laid.At the same time, we created manual as a guide which should lead to an integral concept, giving an answer to all the ambitions and demands for the public space. In this guide, we integrated some main concepts. F.e. the urban space, its materialisation, detailing and vegetation must be robust and durable. But above all it must "leave room" for appropriation by users.In 2016, the city of Antwerp accepted the concept of the Groenplaats. In this concept, the space is divided into two areas: the north is spatial and simultaneously giving room for events and intensive use, the south is rather local and reserved for big trees giving tranquility and shadow. Historically, speed and movements were on a high level for the north, and lower in the south. Materialization is mainly solid and sustainable combined with smart placed elegant detailing. Thus, towards the south, materialization becomes more high-pitched because of the softer and more quiet use. The multimodal hub becomes completely integrated in the urban space and all possible conflicts are to be solved.During the stakeholder meetings in 2017 and 2018 it became clear that, to solve some the issues of the Groenplaats and Eiermarkt, a vision on the whole historical area is required. Currently, the team of the Stadsbouwmeester and several departments of the city of Antwerp are carrying out a study to ensure the integrality of the whole city center.
Study: 2014 –
Design & Engineering: Atelier Veldwerk, ARCADIS, Moritz&Simon Architectes, Ney+Partners and NP-BRIDGING
Client: City of Antwerp
Total budget: 5.6 m€
Copyrights Images: NP-BRIDGING