PRIJSVRAAG ONTWERP PUBLIEKE RUIMTE ROND HET STATION ROESELARE
To turn this railway junction into a magnetic centre preponderant in the urban context of the city, meant being able to manipulate positively two public spaces, north and south of the station building, struggling for the clear goal of giving cohesion to the new Roeselare Station complex.
The awareness of the presence of a large quantity of young people in daily pendular movement was very important, because of the energy and dynamism that they represent. The presence of this group of people should, without doubt, be considered a value in itself, above all in the context of this area of the city, as capturing this sensation of happy meeting and converting it into a motive for celebration in an urban context, was one of the main goals of our proposal.
We quickly concluded that the public space of the station should, by this reasoning, respond positively to this premise, offering a suitable infrastructure, a configuration capable of accommodating all the needs involved in a process which recognized the importance of the spatial appropriation mechanisms of its main users.
We believed from the start that this appropriation mechanism was the shortest path to the gradual construction of a sense of belonging, and, in this way, of a sense of place inside the city, and in the collective consciousness of its inhabitants. By proposing the transformation of public space into a new urban substance, the determinant factor would be the interpretation of it by its users, not only for its integration in positive daily life but also for an eventual negation of its validity. This process should therefore be carried out by continuous, deep interactions and through a proactive attitude, naturally more productive of a perceptible evolution.
The Mineral Square, understood conceptually as an exterior lounge, arose from a composition of different small resting zones, designed in such a way as to permit a place shared between pedestrian flows and cyclists. For each of these ‘carpets’ of stillness we proposed placing concrete sofas, heated in winter, allowing this area to become one of waiting and rest before and/or after the journey.
On the other hand, the Vegetable Square was seen as a celebration of the city’s greenery, an enhancement of quality of life in the urban environment. The green surface was twisted with small modulations of the territory to which were attached organic concrete seats. The idea behind the formalization of each of these modulations was to increase the microclimatic conditions of comfort in the square, as the objective was always to treat the new forms as small shelters.
The proximity of each of these areas to the railway line implied special considerations related to sound-proofing, safety and lighting. But the project went beyond those commonplace concerns, seeking to endow the spaces with physical and technological specificities – heating, illumination systems, suitable furniture, signalling or communication systems.
In a general way we considered that our proposal met the principles of the Project defined in the contest. The solutions and processes of special transformation that were suggested did not aim at the creation of extremely delicate spaces, with maintenance levels behind the reach of the management entities and unsuited to potential users – young people – but for robust, flexible and comfortable solutions as fitting as possible to their lifestyles.
It was above all a proposal centred on the celebration of life in an urban context, on a view of genuine sustainability, so precious and necessary for a contemporary understanding and experience of the city.