HOSPER: The Wilhelmina Square is located in the center of Leeuwarden. HOSPER has been asked to create a layout for the public space of the square and its surroundings. The current square will house the new building for the Fries Museum. In addition, in line with the project ‘Nieuw Zaailand’, a façade of new buildings with shops and apartments will be added. Through these interventions, the square becomes more intimate space. In the future, the Wilhelminaplein will also become part of the pedestrian zone. All this provides many opportunities for enhancing the quality of the area and making the square a pleasant place to reside.

In addition to the above-ground transformation, the plan also entails an underground transformation. The parking garage under the square needed to be enlarged and expanded to 700 parking spaces. A major challenge was the integration of trees, on the roof of the garage. Another challenge was to create an intimate square while still offering space and flexibility for various uses such as the market, the carnival, events, terraces and supply traffic.

In view of the public nature of the place an open planning process was essential to the project. Using 3 models in an online survey, the plan elements were examined to find out which could count on the most enthusiasm of the people and users. Based on this public consultation and the official advice, the Council opted for the model Carpet.

In the design the center of the square will be paved with a chic rug made of three types of natural stone clinkers paved in a varied pattern. The carpet is a separate element and mediates between the differences in scale and construction period of the surrounding buildings. It contains LED-lights, drainage lines and small fountains that contribute to the vibrancy of the square during the day and at night. Multi-stemmed trees are sprinkled over the square. The trees are protected by large ‘tree benches’ of 2 x 5 meters, which also serve as seats.

Project: redesign of Wilhelmina square and the surrounding area
Location: Leeuwarden, the Netherlands
Designers: HOSPER (Mark van der Heide, Hanneke Kijne, Marike Oudijk, Petrouschka Thumann, Han Konings)
Partners: SmitsRinsma, het LUXlab, Rots Maat- werk, IPV Delft, Falco BV, Bert Bandringa gemeente Leeuwarden
Client: municipality of Leeuwarden
Size: 7800 m2
Year of design: 2009 – 2011
Renderings / photography: VIA Drupsteen / Pieter Kers

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