For years, square Munthof in the historical city center was an abandoned public garden, urgently in need of renovation. The place was known for its graffiti art works and was a favorite spot for drugs, junkies, vandalism. After a process of years with stakeholder participation from the neighborhood, the City of Antwerp organized a competition for a new park design.
The new park design is based upon two principles: the creation of architectural edges and the differentiation of the use of public space.
The garden walls have been worked out as coherent architectural facades, facing the park. The structure of the garden wall consists of three spatial components: large pieces (86.6 inches) with benches at the level of the garden wall, window or terrace openings. The small pieces (35.4 inches) are composed of garden doors or closed pieces with climbing plants, and vertical support for the construction of the pergola. As such, a differentiated facade with a strong section has been created.
Apart from the architectural edges, the park is divided into three complementary public spaces each with their specific character: a slightly higher promenade between the two streets that are interconnected, an enclosed park space with solitary trees, and an urban square with terrace facilities for pubs and restaurants. Two side edges of the park have a covered promenade with a pergola overgrown by Chinese Wisteria plants.
Today, the park is intensively used by the neighborhood. There is no vandalism and graffiti anymore. The park visitors are very diverse: youngsters, parents with children from the nursery, elderly people reading their book, tourists wandering around. Although the park Munthof looks classical in form and outlook, the use and the process are not. Therefore, this park is a great example of an urban park for the next generation of the 21st century.
Munthof Park | Antwerp Belgium | CLUSTER Landscape and Urbanism with ARA
Competition | 1st prize winner
Design firm | CLUSTER Landscape and Urbanism (Belgium), in collaboration with ARA
Year | 2012
Credit for the images and text | CLUSTER Landscape and Urbanism (Belgium)