Embracing the trees

In the context of the urban renewal of the postwar districts of Hoogvliet we examine possible new urban configurations for Westpunt. On this 12.5 hectare site, the modernist apartment slabs are already demolished.  Still there are a large amount of impressive trees, most of them fully grow and in a rich variety of species. They provide an immediate and cost free quality to the public space. We decide to literally embrace these trees as the starting point for the urban design on all scales.

In the heart of the Westpunt we situate a linear park space for the neighborhood. This central green space  also connects the Hoogvliet city centre with a recreational zone along the river “Oude Maas”. New housing blocks are situated on both sides of the linear park. Proposed green connections for pedestrians between adjacent  neighborhoods are also dominated by groups of old trees.

The buildings are ‘folded’ around the trees as much as possible.  By doing so, different typologies, with various relationships between private and public space are created. From courtyard housing to traditional row houses and apartment blocks, they all are additional to the existing housing typologies of post war Hoogvliet. The car infrastructure is kept to the edge of the site. In this way we manage to position 244 new dwellings and 440 parking places while maintaining a green quality for the new neighborhood.

Not all  trees can be ‘saved’. The trees that have to be cut, return in the public spaces of Westpunt. They are made into street furniture, objects for play and used for the paving of pedestrian routes.