Multi-family dwellings

Tilburg. Holanda

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The Pieter Vreedeplein

Bonell i Gil Arquitectes. Esteve Bonell Costa, Josep Maria Gil Guitart, arquitectos.

Description Technical file

An urban complex that successfully resolves the complexities of its situation and programme, within the framework of a proposal that ultimately provides a unitary image, with an intelligent equilibrium between the old and the new, the commercial and the domestic, the public and the private as well as between the horizontal and the vertical.

The Pieter Vreedeplein is the result of a lengthy process that began in the late twentieth century when Tilburg City Hall and the developer Bouwfonds MAB entered into an association of public and private interests to promote an ambitious urban renewal project in the centre of the city.

This is an urban sector composed of a complex area of narrow streets with their traditional terraced houses, each one with its own formal autonomy, shared with “modern” constructions of greater height dating from the nineteen-sixties. The place was complex, but so was the programme to be addressed, with dwellings of differing dimensions (around 125), a large area of commercial premises (30.000 metres square), 6 or 7 cinemas and around 800 parking spaces. But above all it was necessary to make sense of a disorderly void, the Pieter Vreedeplein, which was used as surface parking for vehicles and bicycles.

The initial idea for the project was based on the determination to create a space in which the built edifices would have the same importance as the void between them; a meeting point of different zones where urban aspects would predominate over commercial ones. Thus a triangular square was proposed to boost its urban character through the creation of two facades that “close off” the square to give it the appearance of greater dimension and that end in two singular spots: the cinema area, with the façade giving on to the Heuvelplein, and a building destined for housing that through its unique features would become an urban landmark to establish the identity of the new constructions and whose image would serve as a counterpoint to the volume of the church.

With the limits defined, the new construction stands on a platform at level (+9m) below which are the commercial premises and above which are the dwellings. This platform operates as an elevated streets with private garden spaces that connect the different types of dwellings, a mixture of terraced family houses of large dimensions and smaller apartments situated in a block, in the main tower or in another secondary one. This gives shape to the volumetric duality of this intervention: the horizontality that softens the relationship with the Heuvelplein and the older part of the square and the verticality emphasised by the three towers, each one with its own urban protagonist role and together giving shape to the future remodelling of the North Zone (Spoorzone).

The square, developed in the last phase of the project, has two priority issues as its objective: to give it a unitary image through the fusion of paving and buildings and to use few materials that would also be capable of giving the floor a powerful visual charge. The floor is fundamental in defining the void of the square and is resolved through a single material, granite, in two different hues – a dark one and a light one – that give the floor texture and visual consistency. 17 polished granite benches in the shape of letters that together form the words Pieter Vreedeplein shape a pleasant and startling solution for the rest and relaxation of the citizen. A kiosk houses the pedestrian exit from the underground car park and incorporates a flower stall as well as the ventilation tower for the car park at a crucial spot in the square, aligned with the new landscape looking towards Magazijnstraat. This is not a building on the square but a lightweight, transparent and subtle object in the public space.

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Emplazamiento: Plaza Pieter Vreedeplein en Tilburg. Holanda. Autores: Bonell i Gil Arquitectes. Esteve Bonell Costa, Josep Maria Gil Guitart, arquitectos. Colaboradores: Bedaux de Brouwer Architecten B.V. Architectenbureau Ellerman Lucas van Vught, Desirée Mas, Antoni Millson, Iuliana Pavalan, Roger Sauquet, Nuria Sabaté, Merel van Buuren, Roger Parareda. Dirección de obras: Bouwfonds MAB. Constructora: Heerkens van Bavel Bouw B.V. Promotor: Pieter Vreedeplein Ontwikkeling C.V. (colaboración entre el Ayuntamiento de Tilburg y Bouwfonds MAB). Gestor del mantenimiento de la obra: Frank van Vliet / Mark de Beer y Joep Frenken (Ayuntamiento de Tilburg). Fotografía: Hélène Binet y Esteve Bonell.
Esteve Bonell i Costa
Bonell i Gil Arquitectes

Josep Maria Gil Guitart
Helene Binet