Bas Smets has finished the preliminary design of the pedestrian street on the left bank

The city of Antwerp is preparing to prevent possible future flooding. For example, the Scheldt banks are raised on both banks. The Flemish waterway is raising the dikes as part of the Sigma plan. After the elevation on the left bank, the city of Antwerp is constructing a new, six-kilometer-long green pedestrian street along the Scheldt, for which it is preparing a master plan.

Councilor for urban development Annick De Ridder: “From 2024, the Scheldebrederne will be rebuilt according to the principles of greening and blueing. It includes a 6 kilometer long pedestrian street in the green and out to the Schelde, and an open landscape in the Schelde bend, which includes the marina, connects Robinson- the playground and Sint-Annastrand, we all give back the grandeur of the past to ‘Sint-Anneke.’ “

The city wants to realize this ambitious project as soon as possible. Therefore, the preliminary design of the public space is already started at the same time as the Master Plan.

Master plan

Bureau Bas Smets converted the existing analysis and vision note into the preliminary master plan. Landscape architect Bas Smets: “The construction of the Scheldt embankment on the left bank is the reason for creating a large, continuous park that follows the curve of the Skeden from Galgenweel to Sint-Annabos. The design focuses on a modern, climate-robust park, which on the one hand makes room for more nature and more biodiversity, and on the other hand makes room for different forms of recreation.”

  • Within the dikes, a subtle relief provides opportunities for water collection and slow infiltration. Trees are preserved as far as possible, and a varied flora and fauna is created. Outside the dykes, the characteristic mud and salt marsh landscape will be preserved as much as possible and where possible expanded, because this diverse and sustainable river landscape provides a unique experience along the Scheldt.
  • A network of winding paths provide connections between the neighborhood and the riverbanks. The Digest sometimes leads the hiker close to the Scheldt. Elsewhere, it provides a wider view of the river with the city center in the background. Various vantage points also give the hiker a wonderful view of Antwerp’s nest.
  • The banks of the Scheldt on the Left bank are becoming even greener. The new layout allows for more biodiversity and a more diverse use. The existing functions will remain and will be expanded where necessary.
  • The design makes Frederik Van Eedenplein the gate and heart of Linkeroever. It will be a safe, smart link between the various traffic flows. The local catering industry is strengthened by better accessibility and visibility. The design provides space for the existing small and larger events, so that they can be organized well.

Bas Smets and his office also recently won the design competition for the redevelopment of the Loodswezen area on the other side of the Scheldt. In an interview with Architectura about the changing role of the landscape architect, Bas Smets said the following about this: “It is very exciting to be able to answer all questions about a resilient city in both projects and to create a public space of the 21st century.tea century of it. And where we have previously been architectural assistants, here we are the task’s mandate. We lead the team and can lead all expertise in ecology, urban planning, climate,…” You can read the full interview here.

Northern sub-area

On the basis of this Masterplan, the city prepares concrete plans for the new park environment. The project area consists of 3 sub-areas: Scheldtbred north (from Sint-Annabos to Charles De Costerlaan), middle (from Charles De Costerlaan to Galgenweellaan) and south (from Galgenweellaan to Burcht). First comes the north sub-area, then the south and finally the middle.

The preliminary design of the northern part of the area, which has now been approved together with the Master Plan, has a few clear lines of force:

  • In the elongated park, an uninterrupted and winding path system is being built for walkers and cyclists. In addition, pathways will be created for functional movements. The space released by the compact design of the avenues is softened up and added to the space of the park. Kastanjedreef will act as an axis for loading and unloading, with some parking spaces for people with disabilities.
  • The existing sports and games elements will be renewed where necessary. There are plenty of rest areas along the paths.
  • The design brings the Schelde closer to the visitor. Various junctions between the avenue and the dyke provide good views. Height differences in the form of stairs or amphitheaters provide beautiful views in several places. An open landscape in the bend of the Scheldt connects the marina, the Robinson playground and the Sint-Anna beach.

Next step

The final Masterplan and the final design of the northern sub-area are expected in the first quarter of 2023, when the preliminary design for the southern sub-area will also be ready.

This is followed by the tendering procedure for the northern sub-area and the municipality appoints a contractor. Implementation here is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2024. At the same time, the final design for the southern sub-area is being prepared. The timing of the Scheldt border area is currently unknown.

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