Located in the city center of Brussels, close to Brussels-South Station, the Liverpool Park used to be urban wasteland. Today it has been transformed into a recreational, eco-friendly green space. Initiated in 2010 by the District Contract ‘Lemmens’, this new green lung has been created in close cooperation with the inhabitants and users of the neighbourhood in order to provide a real breath of fresh air in the dense fabric of this industrial area of Brussels. Inspired by a program defined together with public participation, the park offers a variety of recreational functions meant for diverse visitors. A playground, sports ground, table games and a water garden form a playful project that is built around a winding path for people with reduced mobility. A multi-purpose building with very low energy consumption, based upon a free and deconstructed reinterpretation of a log cabin, opens up on the terraces surrounding the bar. Designed in a single architectural and landscaping gesture, the park and the building engage in a harmonious dialogue made of skillfully landscaped voids and non-voids.
The realization of volumes, planted mounds and tiers make it possible to unveil different landscape sequences to the wanderer, while being animated by many trees, clumps of grasses and shrubs that form many niches enhancing biodiversity. In the back of the park, an orchard is laid out in which old naturally resistant apple varieties have been planted.
From the design phase onwards, special attention was given to the sustainable aspects of the project. At the materials level, the focus was on the recovery sector (cushion finish of the playground in crushed tire waste, benches composed of recycled bamboo, inventive reuse of the old wire fence) and the origin of the materials (natural blue stone of Belgian stone-pit, wood of larch and cedar from eco-managed forests).
Initially, the site was completely impermeable; today the park consists entirely of an open soil surface. Rainwater seeps naturally into the ground or is collected from the building roof in a rainwater tank (10 m³) which ensures a considerable reserve for maintenance and watering of the green area whilst drastically reducing the water needs of the building. Indeed, the multi-purpose building has a bar, an office space, storage spaces, kitchen and dining area, changing rooms with showers and lavatories to accommodate a team of city workers in charge of the green spaces and public cleansing. At the same time this will be the brand new location for the Sustainable District Contract ‘Compas’.
While being a true gift for the neighbourhood, the park is also relying on the participation of the citizens who saw its birth. The walls are embellished with various works (a giant mosaic, a wooden sculpture, an exhibition of drawings by the neighbourhood’s children at the initiative of the artist Olivia Hernaiz), all of which wanting the site to be adopted by the locals.
From the architect’s first pencil stroke to the district’s pupils brush strokes today, the collective identity of the park is being built day by day and transforms this part of the city into a real garden for all of us.
Project Name: Liverpool Park
Office: ARTER Architecture & Landscape
Designer: Sébastien Heuss – Landscape Architect
Team architects: Sébastien Heuss, Maurizio Degiovanni, Jochen De Blay, Alexandru Bunis
Collaborators: Pirnay, Polytech, PS2 – Balcaen – EDK
Location: Liverpoolstreet, Brussels – Belgium
Area: 3,250 sq. m.
Client: City of Anderlecht / Urban Renewal Service
Budget: 1,280,000 €
Design Year: 2011
Completion: June 2014
Images credits: Georges De Kinder