Inside Out: Public realm master plan for the Deventer Harbour Quarter
- Cliënt: Deventer Local Authority
- Team: Patrick Mc Cabe, Jorryt Braaksma (REDscape), i.c.w. Andries Geerse, (Urban Planner)
- Year, status: Finished
Harbour Quarter Masterplan, Deventer (NL)
Landscape Architects from REDscape were invited to develop a vision for the public space for the urban regeneration of the harbour quarter in Deventer. Lead by Patrick Mc Cabe, the design team developed “Inside out”, a vision in which the freedom of the individuals and users above else were to be nurtured and stimulated. As a functioning harbour surrounded by industry the area required a multilateral approach. Concepts of shared space, tolerance, and freely defined public space were central to the development of the design. The spatial concept envisaged inverting the edges to readdress the relationship with its surroundings and present the working and living culture of the harbour quarter in a positive way to the city of Deventer. A patchwork of natural stone was proposed to define this new edge and act as a catalyst for the development of this new businesses and housing to face the city.
The team sought to challenge the conventional concepts of Dutch planning by developing a shared space in which freedom and flexibility for future residents and businesses in the harbour would not be hindered. A level work floor of concrete slabs was used to cover the entire central area of the harbour arm, permitting free movement for vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians alike. Daily activities such as parking and movement would be largely self regulating. Life size pictograms and symbols were painted on the work floor to develop a composition of ‘ glyphs’ to indicate speed zones, docking areas and parking places to assist in the daily regulation of the work floor. Large public events, such as concerts, gallery openings and road shows could be easily facilitated to allow sudden and wholesale transformations of the work floor into event spaces. A plinth of reused brick from the harbour was wrapped around the floor of new and existing buildings encouraging the activities of artist, trades people, and working businesses to spill over into the public domain. A number of new rest spaces were created, including an urban beach with connecting wooden steps to the water and a community garden of wild grasses and Italian Lombardi’s, near the existing silos. A new water system was designed for the harbour quarter to collect rain and discharge it into the harbour’s water gardens, a series of floating flowers and vegetation that oxygenate and clean the harbour basins. A flexible system of public wooden furniture was also designed. Long wooden tables and benches were made with on one side wheels to be spontaneously moved about the work floor by the users of the harbour to suit their needs and develop spontaneous meet–up moments and opportunities for gathering.
The urban design for the site was developed by the local authority of Deventer, under the supervision of urban designer Andries Geerse, to form the leading principles for the regeneration of this new area. REDscape’s role was to develop a concept and detail and design the public space encompassing a project area of 21 ha for the urban regeneration of Deventer’s harbour quarter. The design of the public space involved public interaction in the form of participating workshops followed by presentations to discuss progress and input. Public space presentations were presented by REDscape. The workshops also involving the rules of engagement for new buildings were lead by urban designer Andries Geerse together with REDscape and members of the local authority of Deventer. During the development of the public space plan, REDscape coordinated all aspects of the plan with the local government of Deventer and the various engineering offices including urban design, functionality, maintenance and safety, traffic and parking, water management, material selection, general safety, aesthetics, the testing of materials and financial feasibility.
As the Harbour quarter is to be developed largely by private individuals (without large developers) over a longer period of time, nobody knew where or when the first developments would occur. REDscape therefore proposed to develop a toolbox of design principles for the whole harbour quarter which could be applied anywhere and everywhere if necessary. To develop this toolbox a specific area, the first harbour arm was selected to develop the principles. After the principles were developed, they were later worked out into a detailed proposal. In this way a flexible but accurate public space plan could be developed to cope with all kinds of new initiatives.
The design philosophy and approach forwarded by REDscape suited the specific development characteristics of this plan. The approach worked successfully when the first project, the reconstruction of the Industry Road, required to be immediately carried out. A material research using test spaces was put into action and the generic details of cycle ways, patchwork and various details were successfully developed and applied forming the references for other parts of the design.