Currently, Deerlijk doesn’t not have an identifiable central public space. The movement of the current fire station provides the perfect opportunity to generate a new urban public space that gives character and identity to the municipality. The location of the site also works perfectly for this type of new urban space since it is so close to the City Hall and the site already contains a green area that will be incorporated to the project.
We believe that by changing the paving of this new urban space users will get a sense of entering a new type of public space in the municipality, this paving can extend the limits of the space and into the sidewalk in the surrounding streets or become a crosswalk into the nearby City Hall. This change in pavement can be done by batches so that the fire station response capabilities are not disturbed. The colour and feel of the new pavement will give the city centre an iconic character so that every time some snaps a picture in the space the surrounding pavement colour and murals will give a sense of identity to the space. The final pavement colour and disposition could be worked out by public consult and collaboration with locals.
ACTIVATION / DISCOVERY
One characteristic of the site is that the green area is not located in the north-south axis that crosses the site. When the fire station was there it denied the opportunity of seeing the green space while strolling down the street. In order to rediscover this green area in the heart of Deerlijk we propose to place a reflective prism -with a service program inside- that will reflect the green space into the axis so that when people walk by the street they will discover the reflection of the park inside the void. This new consciousness of the presence of the green area will activate the site.
Once the site is activated and people start to use this new space, special programs can be introduced to the site to respond to people’s needs and requests, such as leisure and game areas, public gathering spaces, urban gardens, etc.