The location of Bellamy Park in Vlissingen is unique, certainly in the Netherlands and because of its relation to the Western Scheldt and the sea. The Bellamy Park, the de Ruyterplein and the Beursplein in Vlissingen form an ensemble of spaces in the context of a changing maritime town. The image of the big ships in town has disappeared. The maritime character presents itself much more refined. The town centre has enlarged itself psychologically, with the developments around the Arsenaal and the fishing harbour, and recently with redeveloped squares and streets.
The assignment for the redevelopment of the Bellamy Park, the De Ruyterplein and the Beursplein is the next step in the transformation of the town centre. The Bellamy Park with its surroundings needs to become more than a lively, pleasant and beautiful place to spend time in. The intention is to let it form the heart of Vlissingen’s town centre, instead of what it was: a parking square with adjoined greenery.
Hidden harbour- To give the square these functions, the traffic situation is changed from a passage space to a place of residence. The meaning of the former harbour and the meaning of the park in the space will be given a new dimension by creating an elongated middle zone that is just slightly recessed with respect to its surroundings and slowly rises up to the South. It’s a poetic translation of what is under the ground and literally cannot be made visible anymore. The edge around the plane is robust, suiting the maritime character of Vlissingen. The park will be bordered by a row of trees and a lane at the West side.
Full and empty, plug and play – The sequence of the intimate middle onto the maritime front requires more than just making the parking square green. The Bellamy Park at the same time is both square and park: due to the facades at three sides of the square and the enclosure of the space, the first impression is that of a square in the town, but the decoration with green and spatial elements lead to the pleasant and relaxed atmosphere that is so typical for a park. The area is lively because of daily activities and the presence of people. The events that regularly take place strengthen this.
To activate the square even further, it is decorated in such a way that functions can expand. The terrace zone has a zone with over-terraces under the row of trees along the middle area. The activities that make sure a lively part of the town centre is facilitated by ‘plug and play’: a number of hardly visible provisions. When building up and clearing up events can take place fast, it becomes possible to add small events to the already existing events even more often. Efficiency is an important condition for organising events. For this, provisions are added to the grounds, to plug into. Retractable power current points, gutters for temporary tubes, supply points for water and drainage points for waste water are provided. Anchor points are created for ring driving, so the track can be constructed favourably. Subsequently, anchors are added, on which tents can be anchored without having to hammer pins into the ground
The Beursplein, a terrace square, will become more involved in the other spaces by clearing the space from unnecessary objects. Creating a uniform floor, on which a subtle driving strip ending up at the Beursstraat as well as new transparent terrace screens instead of the variety of screens, will give the space more cachet. The trapdoors in the Beursstraat will be maintained and added in the new design.
De Ruyterplein – Clear relation to the water
For the De Ruyterplein, the relation with the water is the most special. The relation with the fishing harbour is interesting, the view of the pilot vessels is remarkable and the view from the terrace of Brasserie Evertsen is phenomenal. The space will be transformed from a sequence of ramps and differences in height, to a sloping square whereby of course, the damming walls remain intact.
Through a clear construction in heights, the square will be given a more obvious relation to the water and it becomes possible to improve the routing over the sluices to the dyke.
A broad pass is created around the Koopmanshaven, offering a direct view of the pilot vessels of the Koopmanshaven. The symbolism of the flood disaster from 1953 will be addressed in the altitude by situating the edge of the square as high as the highest water level from 1953.
The area is vibrant and an economical impulse has been given to the town centre of Vlissingen. Already in the first season it is visible that the somewhat outdated hospitality business is flourishing again and the decrease in shops is brought to a halt by supplementing the shopping street to a shopping and hospitality circuit.
In more ways than one, the area has become a connection. In the design, the intimacy of the town, the open space of the park square, and the sea come together. The fantastic light, the sea view, the ever changing sight of the ships and the dynamics that the nearby sea accompanies turn this ‘park square by the sea’ into a special meeting place for the people of Vlissingen and people from outside the town.
Bellamy Park | Vlissingen Netherlands | OKRA
Client | Municipality of Vlissingen
Design | OKRA
Area | 2, 5 ha
Project costs | euro 3, 6 million (price level 2010)
Realisation | Bellamy Park realised (2011), stage 1