Tour & Taxis Park

Tour & Taxis Park

Location
Havenlaan 86, 1000 Brussel, Belgium | View Map
Project Year
2017
Category
Cities

Streets
Stories By
Bureau Bas Smets
© Michiel De Cleene

BBS185 Tour & Taxis Park

Bureau Bas Smets as Landscape Architects

The site of Thurn & Taxis in Brussels was built at the beginning of the 20th century as a logistical centre of warehouses and offices around an important railway depot. The project for a large park is central to the conversion of this site of 45 hectares into a new neighbourhood.

The site lies on the west bank of the valley of the river Zenne, adjacent to one of its main tributaries. These tributaries connect forests, parks, marshland, and sports fields into linear landscape structures. The site of Thurn & Taxis has the potential to be part of this hydrographic park system, its disused railroad tracks imitating the streams flowing towards the valley.

The existing terrain, however, had been levelled and compacted, rendering the surface impermeable and sterile. A specific landscape strategy has been developed that allows the gradual conversion of the site into a park. As a first step the compacted upper layer is scraped off and filtered into its primary components: rough gravel, fine sand, and topsoil. In the second step the site is reshaped with these components, without importing additional soil. A new topography transforms the former industrial site into a natural valley. In the third step the rainwater, flowing through gravitation to the lowest area, is stored in two underground water retention basins, created with the rough gravel.

A mix of 3,000 fast-growing pioneer trees and 300 slow-growing trees have been planted. The root system of the former gradually improves the quality of the heavy soil, to the benefit of the latter. The pioneer trees assure an immediate vegetal presence, screening the view of the surrounding construction site. Over the years they will be thinned out to create space for the slower growing trees. As an acceleration of natural processes, the park is in constant evolution.

 

Material Used:
Tree species:
1. Alnus glutinosa
2. Betula pendula
3. Gleditsia triacanthos f. inermis
4. Malus sylvestris
5. Metasequoia glyptostroboides
6. Populus canescens 
7. Populus nigra
8. Prunus padus
9. Pyrus calleryana
10. Robinia pseudoacacia
11. Salix alba
12. Sophora japonica

Materials:
1. Clay Clinker bricks, anthracite colour
2. Clay Clinker bricks, red colour
3. Concrete clinkers, anthracite colour
4. Concrete slabs, anthracite colour
5. Natural Stone,  Porphyre, bound softscape
6. Natural Stone,  Porphyre, cobblestones
7. Natural Stone, Blue Stone, Belgium

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