De Porre park

Integration of old industrial relics into a new park for people.
Ghent | BE
AG SOB stadsontwikkelingsbedrijf Gent (now SOGent)
2009 - 2014
11,357 m2
design and construction of a neighbourhood park located in a residential area between two schools
accreditation ‘Exemplary and innovative green project’ by (2010) laureate ‘Provincial Architecture Prize 2015 - Province Oost-Vlaanderen’ laureate ‘Prijs Publieke Ruimte 2017’

Even in the past, the old factory site of De Porre in Gentbrugge and its surroundings has always been a cluster of work, housing and education. The transformation of the site into a park guarantees the further integration of the site with the neighbourhood. By retaining a number of characteristic and historical elements in the design, the history of the site remains visible and experienceable. For example, the old dust tower has been preserved as a landmark and marking a passage from the residential zone to the park area. The cooling tower is the most striking remnant of the past and has been preserved as a static sculpture which is illuminated from the outside. A light glass construction has been placed around the steam turbine. The pavilion is illuminated from the inside and thus receives an honourable place in the park.

In addition to the steam turbine and cooling tower, a number of old factory walls have also been retained as carriers for new activities. Playing children, youngsters and seniors will all find their place here. The high walls are deliberately interrupted in order to allow all-round social control. The historical straight structures form a playful contrast to the new greenery and modern additions to the park.

The existing cooling water basin next to the steam turbine has been redesigned as a purification pond. From here the water flows over to a shallow play pond which in turn turns into a wadi where the excess water can infiltrate. The existing trees at the planned car park and garden have been preserved as much as possible. The new planting of shady trees, fruit trees, flowering, fragrant plants and flower meadows provides a colourful and attractive vegetation year-round.