In the Linkeroever (left bank) residential area there is a clear dividing line between the garden suburb and the high-rise estate. For the Linker Oever Intergenerational Project (IGLO), on a plot within the high-rise section, the Technum urban designers teamed up with three architectural firms (De Smet Vermeulen architecten, architecten De Vylder Vinck Taillieu and Tom Thys architecten) to produce a simple master plan. A new street cuts through the parks and the plot walled by high-rises. Existing and new facilities address this street, creating a centre. In contrast to the extensive parks beyond it, the high-rise room is filled with low-rise buildings: a residential care complex, a child care centre and a shop topped by flats for the elderly, all designed by De Smet Vermeulen. The clear dividing line was blurred. The conflicting models become complementary and evolve into a more mixed, less segregated urban form.
The three low-rise buildings have their entrances on the square, but their ridges are perpendicular to the street. They present an animated roofscape to the high-rise and impact on the public domain in many ways. While outside the high-rise room there are large parks, inside it we created gardens. Local residents heading for the cafeteria, the hairdresser or the therapy rooms in the residential care complex, walk past the child care centre’s garden, which will hopefully result in seniors getting involved in child care activities. Residents with a ground floor room don’t need to use the main entrance but can enter via the garden. On the side streets, the flats for short-term accommodation have their own entrances.
The most public parts of the residential care complex face the square; behind them are the communal living spaces and behind that again the individual rooms, grouped around the gardens. So instead of passing endless rows of identical rooms, the route from the main entrance to a room passes through a variety of residential milieus. A transverse route strings the houses together, resulting in short travel paths for the care professionals.
When dealing with large numbers, differentiation helps with orientation. In the northern and southern houses, the stair is positioned differently. Only rooms facing the garden have French windows. The ground, first and second floors differ. Below the roof, the roof shape is visible. Permutations of a colour palette differentiate each corridor and each room. The rest is done by the views from the window, where the new architecture manifests as successive layers against the high-rise.