Public space

HISTORIC MONUMENT TOUWBAAN – VLAARDINGEN, THE NETHERLANDS

The Lijnbaan district in Vlaardingen is an area where the old days of the Dutch marine industry gloried until the late 19th century. In this district, craftsmen made shipping supplies, such as ropes. At first, this was done in open space, but soon the owners built a long roof, to make it easier for the workers to continue in different weather conditions. With the growth of the vessels, and later the migration of ship building industry to cheap labour countries, this district also fell from grace. After WWII, parts of the small historic fabric was demolished for cheap housing projects and the roof of the “touwbaan” rotted away to poor condition. In the 80s the municipality tried to renovate the roof, but without any historic knowledge, nor program to make it valuable once more. After the roof became a national monument, historians and restauration architects were asked to produce a strategy to reinstate the “sick” monument. But: not the monument was sick, the whole environment was infected, with false interferences and chaotic development initiatives. Stijlgroep was asked to join the specialists team. Together with the municipality and the involved (but also critic) neighbourhood, we created an urban transformation strategy, that reinstated the old fabric of the public space and made the “touwbaan” the historic centrepiece of the area. The whole area is no longer a backyard alley, but an alive and vivid part of the city between the historic Market, the old Harbour and the railway station.

Location: Vlaardingen, The Netherlands
Client: Municipality of Vlaardingen
Date: 2011 - 2013
Category: Strategy, Landscape Architecture, Public Space