Water Re-use and Visibility in the new city of Belval


In the south of Luxembourg an industrial area, in earlier days used by the steel industry, was transformed into an attractive working and living environment. The project is near to the French border in the new city of Belval. 

On the south slope of the site, with a view on the French hills there will be a residential area with 500 houses called Belval Nord. The town planning concept follows the landscape and the building blocks are carefully fitted in, here the landscape creates the urban design.


Water-Concept  Re-use and Visibility



All the rainwater of the buildings and roads had to be collected and transferred to open ponds where it will be used for industrial cooling purposes.  Local infiltration is not intended. The natural slopes with their natural vegetation in this project are used to transfer the water, and via open ditches.  Because the water is an important aspect in this development, the design uses the surface to  transport the water in place of underground pipes. Thus keeping the water theme visible.  For this reason the small ditches are combined with a sharp concrete rim.  All the water merges with the green ‘water-retention-stairway’,  where the speed of the water will be slowed down in periods of heavy rainfall. For this reason 26 water barriers of European oak poles installed. 



Along the side of the ‘water-retention-stairway’, is a pedestrian and cyclist promenade connecting all areas of the site of in total 120 ha.  On this promenade 33 spillways have been designed to be clearly visible by numbered Corten steel elements on the gambion parapet, which refer to the former steel blast furnace with all it’s numbered equipment. 



With the cradle-to-cradle philosophy in mind as many as possible local and sustainable materials have been used.  The filling of the gambions and the pavement stones  come from a local quarry and is called “grès de Luxembourg”,  the use of cortensteel on this former steel furnace plant is as well a referring to the history as a sustainable choice.  The bridges are made of European certified oak.  The total project has a gold GBKN pre-certification, for sustainability in building and planning.


Belval Nord, Belval Luxembourg

Designer | ELYPS Landscape + Urban Design

Commissioned by | société de développement AGORA s.à.r.l. et Cie

Constructor | Bonaria et Fils, Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxembourg

Period of design | 2006-2010

Implemented in | stage 1 2010-2012 stage 2 2012-2015

About Damian Holmes 5733 Articles
Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at https://www.linkedin.com/in/damianholmes/