Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Kralingse Berg in Rotterdam, Netherlands by MVRDV Architect
February 23rd, 2011 by Sumit Singhal
Rotterdam is Europe’s main port, the port area stretches along the Rhine from the city centre towards the sea, its industries and cranes are the icons of the port city. The north east of Rotterdam is a sharp contrast to the general image of the city dominated by industrial activity and modern architecture: a green suburban area of great natural beauty. The historic neighbourhood of Kralingen, parklands, the river Rotte and a series of lakes with riparian leisure facilities such as yacht harbours mark this affluent part of the city. The area would be a real oasis in the dense urban fabric but it is brutally split by a motorway and train rail. The main artery of the Benelux, a motorway which connects the 3 main ports and generates constant traffic and pollution, cuts through this green area. The main eastern train lines run next to the motorway. Crouched against the infrastructure a series of industries are located, in a strange paradox surrounded by the nicest parks of the city.
This offers the chance for a real change and development of the area by maintaining and enhancing the green character through a massive investment of covering the motorway with a park, reconnecting the greenbelt and financing this through the construction of high quality housing on top of the new hill, the ‘Kralingen Mountain’. Covering the motorway with parkland will create one large, connective park in the area and improve the quality of the surrounding communities. The hill which is created by covering the motorway provides wide views over the countryside, the lakes and the city as an effect of the flat Dutch landscape. An ideal location for a residential development which will be easy accessible by the near infrastructure but still be located in the midst of nature.
The construction of this large scale project combines a massive infrastructure effort which will be phased. The site is divided into 12 development zones of which seven need investment in infrastructure and five can be developed independently. Closure of either motorway or rail link for construction is not an option. The solution is the necessary anticipation on the future growth of both the motorway and train traffic. By doubling the capacity first the new infrastructure can be built and used before the existing lines are covered. A new underground railway station will make the area more attractive for residents. Invisible underground a large light industrial program is to be developed, on top a program of different residential typologies is developed fostering for different types of users all in a green environment, with views and connected to public transport. Two areas with office high rise are located near the tunnel entrances, providing the demanded sight-locations for the companies and keeping the middle part of the hill free for park landscape.
The Kralingen Mountain project will change 67 hectare of urban infrastructure desert into park landscape and quiet residential neighbourhoods.
Category: Public Landscapes