KCAP/Topotek 1 with Fakton win Belval Square Mile competition in Luxembourg
The team KCAP Architects&Planners and Topotek 1, in cooperation with financial advisors Fakton has won a competition for the strategic urban development of the Belval Square Mile quarter in Esch-sur-Alzette, in the South of Luxembourg. Since the 1990s the larger area Belval, a former blast furnace location with 170 ha of size, has undergone a transformation into a city quarter with a mix of functions including living, working, education, science, leisure and recreation, focusing on sustainable development processes.
The competition aimed to review the existing masterplan for 10 blocks in the quarter called ‘Square Mile’, located in the centre of Belval. In order to adapt its development to the current situation of the real estate market, the competition brief asked for new urban configurations, integrating current aspects of energy efficiency and sustainability, and a brand identity for the area based on its character as an educational and creative area on the theme of ‘experience of industrial culture’.
“The central blocks of the Square Mile with its historic chimneys and industrial sinter basins will play a key role in the development of Belval,” says Markus Appenzeller, Director for international projects of KCAP. “Instead of the proposed monumental central axis, we propose to activate the surrounding Boulevards as the backbone of this urban quarter. An open space network will integrate the central blocks into the surrounding city and landscape and create an attractive setting for the mix of uses of this new quarter.”
The buildings already constructed along ‘Hochofenterrasse’ - the site east of Square Mile - are characterised by a horizontal stack of uses (living and working above commerce) and by large development units. In order to diversify the new city quarter, the winning scheme proposes additional building typologies which allow for a rich mix of functions: courtyard and podium blocks with attractive commercial spaces and desirable apartments, urban residential buildings with flexible ground floors, buildings flexible for yet undefined usage etc.