Working in a historical context in Europe, where the architecture of the past is still very present, architects are often faced with the question of whether they should restore the physical or rehabilitate the conceptual.
Based on a historical analysis of the site and its long history
of different owners, who each imposed their own architectural
styles, the architects and landscape designers approached the new
development within the conceptual framework of the 18th century
English Garden, reminiscent of the park's "golden" period.
The degenerated landscape was brought to its ideal form and the 20th century concrete pool transformed into a forest pond, merging gently into its surroundings, creating a narrated and romantic natural setting.
The three pavilions, housing dressing rooms etc., were designed
as independent objects, evoking images of the dramatic rock
formations seen in 18th century paintings of Hans Gude or Peter
Balke. The gaps between them, like chasms between cliffs, and the
slanted rooftops, covered by weeds and herbs, add to the perception
that these structures were created by geological forces rather than
by human efforts.
Besides the color of rusted steel being an earth tone, which
helps keep the "natural" feeling of the park, the material was also
dictated by the fact that the swimming facilities are closed nine
months of the year.
To correspond to current health and safety regulations a new aquatic ecosystem was created using ecological water treatment technology.
"We have tried to show that the rehabilitation of a historical site does not necessarily mean the restoration of a physical body of architecture. Rather, the architect's focus can be placed on restoring the dissolved concept already embedded in the site's history. This approach is not only less restrictive and allows for a more creative reinterpretation, but it is also a way to take action whilst maintaining respect for a site's history."/OMGEVING
In Flemish the word "OMGEVING" stands for "surroundings"
stressing the importance of the space around us. It includes the
immediate space surrounding oneself, one's home, one's
neighbourhood, region, and even country.
The project was officially completed in 2007 with additional landscaping done in 2008. It took a few more years to allow new plants to grow and adapt to the new environment.
Facts about Boekenberg Park
Gross Building Area:
City of Antwerp, Axima services
Last updated: December 19, 2013