The District of Antwerp and the City of Antwerp are joining forces to upgrade the Stadspark or City Park to its original landscape style in the coming years, taking into account contemporary needs. They have now approved the final design, with detailed plans and guidelines for future adjustments. It is the result of an extensive process to which experts from all kinds of knowledge areas, resident groups and visitors contributed.
The final design takes into account the protected status of the park and departs from the Heritage Management Plan (Erfgoedbeheerplan) which previously outlined the most important outlines. It lays down a detailed vision: a diverse park for various users and a climate park in the heart of the city, with history as a guideline for spatial quality. The design has five main themes:
1: Circulation and Accesses
- There will be clearly legible, sufficiently wide main entrances. When designing the entrances, specific attention is paid to appropriate planting and the installation of bicycle sheds and fixed information carriers.
- In places that are not intended as access, plants will be planted to prevent passage.
- The outer loop of the park is seen as the main path and is laid out wider than the secondary paths. All secondary paths are given a fixed width.
- In case of steep slopes, the park paths will be given a concrete pavement for better accessibility.
- In the north, the bicycle crossing will be reconstructed in concrete pavement to ensure a smooth and safe passage for cyclists. This path will be constructed along with the new play zone in the autumn of 2023. This play zone will only be on one side of the path, which will avoid conflicts with cyclists.
Antwerp district Alderman for Landscaping and Parks and Youth Tom Van den Borne (Groen): “The revaluation of the Louise-Marialei once again strengthens the relationship with the Stadspark. Its role as an entrance to the Stadspark is being upgraded. It will form a physical connection between the park and the city centre. The preservation of the current functions is taken into account, but there will also be extra root space for the imposing white horse chestnuts”
2: Green structure
In the case of the green walls, the edges in particular will be thoroughly tackled. The predominance of snowberry is being reduced and replaced by a more attractive and diverse planting.
The new shrubs are planted sufficiently far from the edge of the pavement, taking into account their mature size. To cover the bare ground in the meantime, a strip of perennials or bark is applied along the edges. This strip will vary in width throughout the park and aims to reduce management intensity in the first years. The plants are groundcover, non-invasive and mostly evergreen.
Alderman for City and Neighborhood Maintenance and Green Els van Doesburg (N-VA): “The first hurdle has been taken to revalue the city park. We take maximum account of the history and history of the city park. Existing iconic trees that were used during the original construction of the city park were planted, are retained at all times. The actual choice of plants is based on the original plant list as included in the heritage plan. The walking paths and green spaces are recreated to reflect the historic atmosphere and original landscape style.”
3: Hydrology and park pond
A step-by-step plan has been developed for the level of the water in the Stadspark pond:
- Nearby yards should first and foremost come up with alternatives to avoid pumping up groundwater. If they nevertheless pump up groundwater in a radius of 750 meters around the Stadspark, it must flow to the park pond if it cannot infiltrate on site.
- The water level is systematically raised to approximately 2.5 meters. For this purpose, excess rainwater from the surrounding area is brought to the pond via an overflow.
- The third step in the medium term is to obtain a pond level around 3.5 meters. Monitoring the new interventions in step 2 will show whether additional interventions are necessary to achieve this level. The impact of the rising water level on the trees will also play a decisive role.
Alderman for Public Domain Erica Caluwaerts (Open Vld): “It will be important to monitor the pond level. Since 2020, the pond level measurements are automatically forwarded every six hours. This allows us to closely monitor the impact of the interventions on the water level. A higher level of the park pond will also lead to a strengthened groundwater table. The emergency overflow is located at 4 meters. This means a large buffer capacity for the neighborhoods around the Stadspark.”
The water level around the island in the pond must be permanently present. To achieve this, the zone around the island is excavated to 2 meters at the deepest point. This zone is two meters wide at its narrowest point. Thus, even at low water levels, a water level will always be present.
Marsh zones are provided along both banks. These offer the most opportunities in terms of biodiversity. Here you can play with a varying wet-dry gradient and a wide range of plants can find a place. More variety in planting also ensures a greater variety of insects and animals. Swamp zones oriented towards the south in particular have great potential. That is why the southern shore of the island will also be adjusted and will be softened.
4: Usage and Activities
Diverse visitors and communities use the park, each in their own way. The revaluation of the Stadspark takes into account current forms of use and events. An important starting point is to prevent an overly busy program within the historic park. The main principles and changes are:
- Clustering of the more dynamic activities near the Grand Café Capital (skating, play area, pontoon, …).
- Shifting the center of gravity for events towards the wide main entrance in Rubenslei, with the option of (periodically) switching on the street. The commemoration ceremony for World War II will be kept at the war memorial.
- Use of the grass zone in the Louise-Marialei as a space for more intensive use by schools and for events. In this way, the zones under the trees are protected from high footfall pressure.
- Scrapping of the green buffer edge between the park and the Van Eycklei as a zone of use, as the green edge is being restored here.
- Events such as a flea market are preferably organized in the event zone at Rubenslei and Louiza-Marialei.
Tom Van den Borne: “A first sub-project within the revaluation plan is the reconstruction of the playground. The implementation of this will start at the end of the summer of 2023. The new play area will be integrated according to contemporary needs and in a contemporary way and design. During the elaboration, valuable elements in the park, such as the visibility axis and the existing trees, are safeguarded as much as possible. This integration is additionally enhanced by the use of natural materials. Together with the play zone, the bicycle axis through the park will also be reconstructed and the green zones will be upgraded.”
Square Monument to the Fallen
A new green buffer along the Van Eycklei in Keilig‘s landscape design language creates a physical and mental separation from the street. The Monument of the Fallen Square will have a water surface with nozzles and seating areas on the edges. In this way it can once again become an important meeting place.
5: Furniture and structures
The placement of the furniture in the park was further refined. A further search was made for social arrangements of seating furniture. This is provided at the height of the skate area and on the two moon-shaped squares in the park. Both the standard benches and the long benches are provided with sufficient back and armrests. Closures are only placed functionally.
The demand for sanitary facilities in the Stadspark remains high. The Revaluation Plan states that with regard to sanitation, the city-wide policy will be followed. If it is decided at city level that public sanitary facilities can be provided in the City Park, the Revaluation Plan states that this must be provided within the contours of the building of the green services and Grand Café Capital.
The lighting concept from the preliminary design is retained: the accent lighting is limited to the outer loop and the zone outside it, and accent lighting is also provided in the heart of the Stadspark.
As for the sculptures: the sculpture ‘Figures of Absence‘ by Goshka Macuga will definitely have a place in the park. The sculpture ‘Monument Fallen Soldiers of the Fifth Line Regiment‘ moves to the grass zone along the Quinten Matsijslei.
The current location of that statue will host ‘Mother and child‘.
Participation and disclosure
Local residents and park visitors will now be informed about the final design with a newsletter and information in the Stadspark itself. The full Revaluation Plan can be viewed at www.antwerpenmorgen.be/stadspark.
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8 Comments Add yours
Looks a great option.
Thank’s for share Timothy.
Have a lovely day!
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Thank you Elvira. Have a great day.
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You as well.
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