CLUSTER landscape & urbanism is an office for landscape architecture and urban planning, based in Antwerpen. Its approach to design can be characterized as research driven and conceptual. The office has an inquisitive attitude and works on projects varying in size and scope, ranging from design research to detailed spatial concepts for landscapes or public spaces. Our objective is to formulate clear solutions for complex spatial issues.
CLUSTER landscape & urbanism was founded by landscape architect David Verhoestraete. The design team of 8 people is comprised of landscape architects, urban planners and designers.
The Dry Docks Island is an unprogrammed void between the historic city center of Antwerp and the port. The city has the ambition to transform this old port infrastructure into a fully-fledged urban park. An important precondition for this, is the integration of the planned Sigma-dike which will run across the site, to be integrated into the new park.
The design consists of a large terraced dike that gradually slopes towards the Scheldt. Each terrace has a different elevation. Because each tidal regime has a different water level (low tide, high tide, spring tide, neap tide, storm tide), a differentiation is made to the ecological environmental conditions on a relatively limited area. The design optimizes both the ecological potential of each tidal regime and the potential for aquaculture and saline agriculture.
The drydocks park is designed as a coherent framework of low dikes that as a whole still have the constructive function of a robust flood dike, and at the same time function as a recreational tidal park. The fields in between can be freely arranged in function of the desired program.
The dry docks park forms a polder landscape in miniature, playing with the specific conditions of the river system, and at the same time functioning as an urban garden to stay and to relax. The inner side of the terraced dike is designed as a prolonged building with public services, forming a public façade towards the old drydocks.
(In collaboration with MOP urban design and Witteveen+Bos)
A number of large quarries, from which high quality silica sand and gravel have been extracted, are located in the centre of the National Park. In the east-west direction the E314 highway segments the National Park. In the near future a light rail is planned parallel to the highway. This development will increase the fragmentation of the area.
This project consists of a research through design on the ecological and recreational defragmentation of the Hoge Kempen National Park, the spatial integration of the highway E314 and the planned light rail project ‘Spartacus’. Several strategies have been examined to optimize the spatial and ecological coherence in the National Park. An important precondition within this research, was to define a strategy in which the revenues of the mining activities could be used to realize the defragmentation.
In 2009 the city of Antwerp organized a competition for the design of a masterplan for Lillo Fortress in the context of the Sigmaplan. The Sigmaplan will protect Flanders from flooding. The embankment has a huge impact on Lillo and threatens the characteristic spatial qualities of the village. The specific qualities of Lillo, the beautiful views over the water, the visual relation with its twin fortress Liefkenshoek on the left bank of the Scheldt and the small tidal harbor, were threatened by the embankment plans.
The design of the new embankment, combines the harbor and the new dike into one integrated structure, an inner-dam harbor. It allows the reconstruction of the ancient fortification into its historical pentagonal shaped bastion. The moat is reopened and the old bastions at the side of the Scheldt are reconstructed according to the typology of the existing fortification. On the flanks of the fortification, trees are planted, reinforcing the pentagonal structure of the fort.
The design of the new public spaces consists of a park (Kalverwei), a square (Lobroekplein) and various residential streets. The Kalverwei is designed as three successive parks in different sizes. The oval-shaped formes creates a distance towards the high buildings at the edge of the park and creates a pathway around the park that connects to the various side streets. Lobroekplein is designed as an elongated square with semi-paved areas and a tree grid. The existing street with parking on both sides will be deduplicated, inwhich crossing ability will be greatly improved. The new square forms a central link between the existing nineteenth century buildings and the new housing developments.