The Rotterdam based office of Maxwan Architects + Urbanists in collaboration with the Brussels based 1010 architecture urbanism win the open call for Machelen-Diegem masterplan (Belgium).
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, 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
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.