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  • Location: Aarschot, Belgium
  • Program: Residential, 310 units
  • Area: 72.700 m²
  • Year: 2019
  • Status: Study

The project in Aarschot embodies a vision where harmony between nature and urban development is central. The Nonnenland site, located on the edge of the city center on the Demer valley, offers a unique opportunity to combine urban livability with the rich ecology of the area. This area, characterized by its proximity to water and its vulnerability to flooding, provides a canvas for innovative urban planning that respects and integrates natural elements into the development.

The project aims to be more than a residential area; it aims to be a living environment where the boundaries between private and public green spaces are blurred, allowing biodiversity to thrive. By incorporating the existing poplar trees and surrounding natural landscapes, a green backbone is created that serves both aesthetic and ecological purposes. The proposed buildings, ranging from low to high, are carefully designed to complement the natural contours and existing green structures, creating a symbiotic relationship between the built environment and the landscape.

Central to the design is the creation of a public green space that acts as a gathering place for the community and a natural water management basin. By enhancing the existing hydrology and integrating smart water management practices, such as the natural overflow of the Heilaak stream, the risk of flooding is reduced and rainwater is used to nourish the landscape.

The nearby Bloemberg forest plays a crucial role in enhancing the ecological value and quality of life within the Nonnenland project. This biologically valuable forest, connected to other green areas such as Meetshoven and the Achter Schoonhoven nature reserve, serves as an essential green lung for the area.

The integration of the project with the Bloemberg forest area is a deliberate choice to promote biodiversity and create ecological corridors. By maintaining and enhancing these green links, animals can move more freely and plant species can spread, contributing to the ecological resilience of the region. It also provides educational and recreational opportunities for the community to discover and appreciate the natural richness of their surroundings.

The vision for the Nonnenland site focuses not only on creating living spaces, but also on promoting a lifestyle that reduces dependence on the automobile. By emphasizing pedestrian and bicycle connections to the city center and smartly integrating parking solutions on the periphery or underground, a quiet, green oasis is created that invites relaxation and interaction away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

With 310 planned residential units, this project represents a progressive model for urban development that enhances quality of life through the integration of natural elements and sustainable design. It’s a place where residents not only live, but also become part of a living ecosystem that supports and enhances the local flora and fauna, bringing Aarschot closer to a greener, more resilient future.