Philip Vliegen

Philip Vliegen

Hasselt Bridge. UHasselt (Belgium)

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HASSELT BRIDGE (FROM TRAFFIC NODE TO DESTINATION)

Hasselt Bridge is a design research into the possibility of re-use of an existing infrastructure site in Hasselt. The project is situated on and around the existing steel car bridges over the industrially active Albert Canal. The bridges are part of a large traffic node and are mainly responsible for connecting the north-south traffic artery in Limburg. Despite the unique location in relation to the city center and its surrounding residential areas, the place is a non-space. Motorized transport dominates the landscape. There is no room for quality of life in this part of the city.

The proposed architectural intervention makes a transition in this by starting from a radical intervention, namely the downscaling of the traffic artery (Manifesto studio North-South). This relieves the western bridge from its motorized traffic, which provides the space for a renewed humanized connection between the city center, the surrounding residential areas and the Albert Canal. The site becomes a destination instead of a only a traffic node.

The proposed concept consists of 2 main interventions: a building and a square. The building is located both on the bridge and on the approach zone north of the bridge. The main purpose of the building is to accommodate new economic profitable functions like retail and recreation, to guide the new slow route infrastructure and to revive the image of this particular part of the city. The building directs the circulatory flows of the planned cycle highways, the cultural gallery, the pedestrian flows, the canal and the landscape with its shape. It’s an incubator for social interaction. The square is located to the north-west of the bridge and serves as a connector for the creative redeveloped Keramo site, the canal, the bridge and the Banneuxwijk.

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