The site, Machelen-Diegem, presents itself as a series of contrasts. It is located in the large urban area of the capital of Europe, Brussels BE; yet often is reminiscent of a small community. It is divided by a series of imposed infrastructural lines (rail, highway and international airport); while its long term economic vitality hinges upon the proximity to these networks. Historically it is two distinct villages; that now function under one governmental body. These potentials and problems present a rich set of questions.
The preliminary designs focus on the current realities and long term futures of residents of the villages. Firstly, it addresses the specific impacts of the regional infrastructure that have been rolled out over the villages without much consideration. The work seeks to both remedy the unresolved spaces that have emerged and to harness the economic potential that being tied to these large networks offer.
Secondly, the plan embraces the existing nature and intimate urban qualities in the area. It enhances them by improving the internal spatial organization of the cores and through transforming each neighborhoods tissue. This is done by inserting strategic facilities in key spaces and by improving the quality of the public space throughout. Understanding the individual visual qualities of each area is integral to framing a series subprojects and specific proposals that can be implemented over the long term to enhance both the individual components and the greater whole of Machelen-Diegem.
Description from the architects
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