LIVING ABOVE A ROUNDABOUT
Tilburg needs to expand, but within the city’s boundaries. Located on the southern side of the city is the 40-hectare area ‘t Laar’, which was the subject of an urban study conducted in collaboration with a traffic engineering office, developers and an architect. The scheme focused on finding a lasting traffic solution, strengthening the urban structure, realizing a sizeable program of housing and amenities, and designing this important gateway to the city.
The solution is surprisingly simple: the approach roads are optimized (for example with the addition of a super-roundabout) and sunken below ground. The soil removed is then used to raise the ground level and cover the roads with a ‘green carpet’. As a result, space is created above ground, and environmental and noise pollution is practically eliminated. The sunken super-roundabout fulfils a pivotal role: as ‘park and ride’, bus station, mega-supermarket, and site of an iconic tower.
The newly created area offers space for residential complexes and single-family housing. Along the edges, where the roads dip beneath the green carpet, a perfect space is created for a distinctively municipal function, for example a ‘Museum Tilburg’. The final result is more than 15,000 m2 of high quality and sustainable residential and employment amenities – and a 38-hectare park. That makes the study a classic example of increasing density within the existing city.