Lotte Willems

Lotte Willems

Plug-in. UHasselt (Belgium)

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With time, facilities such as a bakery or a grocery store have disappeared in many villages. Furthermore, many villages are divided in two parts by the implementation of regional roads in the seventies. In Vleugt, a small village in Diest (in the northeast corner of Flemish Brabant), the consequences of these changes are present. Noteworthy are the inhabitants of this village, who prefer to stay in the village where they were born and raised. The result is a village were a lot of families live, with up to seventeen houses of the same family.

Consequently the car becomes more dominant and a lot of elderly suffer from these circumstances. Moving to the city or to a health facility often seems their only solution. Therefore, this project was based on the following question: how can the quality of life be improved, for young and old(er)?

Decentralisation was one of the key aspects of this project. Instead of an enormous residential care facility which acts like an island, multiple small facilities were developed. Small condensers along the village road strengthen the quality of de ribbon development. Furthermore, the program is scattered over the whole village. Due to the combination of different programs, these facilities are still economically interesting.

Vertically oriented and horizontal linear elements are created, which contribute to the preservation of open space connections. These vertical elements are new beacons in the landscape, like the church always has been. These beacons are situated were the urban route, for motorized traffic, encounters the newly developed landscaping routes, for bikers and pedestrians. Here, open meeting spaces are created where meetings between young and old are stimulated.

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