Urban Designer, Architect and Researcher

RUS New Sustainable Neighbourhood by the River

Europan 12 International Competition

  • Site: Ciney, Belgium

  • Program: Sustainable Neighbourhood Masterplan, Station Square Redesign

  • Client: City of Ciney

  • In colaboration with: EDUARD BALCELLS, VALENTIN KOKUDEV, ANDRÉS LUPIÁÑEZ, BALBINA MATEO, MARCOS RUIZ DE CLAVIJO

The famous Belgian writer Gaston Compere spent his childhood in the hamlet of Conjoux, in the urban area of Ciney. In his memories «A childhood in Condroz», he describes the region as a harmony between human activity and landscape, between city and nature. Nature is structured by a dense network of rivers and roads entering the city, and the city takes its place on the land wisely. It is this idea of ​​harmony, conectivity and network which guide our project.

In first place, we propose to complete the missing link in the of Wallonia’s slow lanes between the vertices of the triangle formed by the cities of Ciney, Yvoir and Dinant, with connection paths that follow the rivers. Thus, the relationship between these three main urban centers of the region is thus enhanced through these slow lanes specifically dedicated to slow modes (pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders), which are at the same time utilitarian, for leisure, and touristic.

Then, for the project site in the old forges of Ciney, we propose a penetration of nature and, at the same time, an intensification of its urbanity. The Leignon, this small stream (the «ru») which crosses the site, is therefore renaturalized and regains its role as a green reserve in the heart of the city. Around the Leignon stream, the new Neighborhood of «Les Forges» establishes the necessary density to form a new vibrant neghbourhood and also composes a new facade of the city from the train.

Finally, the area around the train station is reorganized and remodeled to assert its role as the second urban center of Ciney after Church Square (Place Monseu). We propose  a new generous and confortable underpass under the existing railway tracks dedicated to pedestrians and cyclists, that knits together the two parts of Ciney on both sides of the railway. This crossing leads to the new building of the service of the Administration of Agriculture, which serves to reinforce the urban character of the area. All these measures are aimed at transforming the area around the station into a more friendly and urban space: a real Station Square for the city.

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