Rooftop Park Bulwark Sint Jan

OSLO Ontwerp Stedelijke en Landschappelijke Omgeving: Coming from the railway station, entering the old town centre of ‘s-Hertogenbosch by crossing the Wilhelmina Bridge, a unique building of rusty steel will catch your eye. It is situated at the edge of the town river Dommel and a small park was created on top of the building. Bulwark Sint Jan on the Dommel used to be one of the four main entrances to the historic fortified town. Through the ages, three generations of gates have taken each other’s place here. At the end of the nineteenth century the bulwark was demolished so that the water of the Dommel could be drained faster. Splendid remnants of the two last gates, town wall, a roundel and mediaeval cobblestones were found in the ground of the slopes and street. The importance of the site and the state of the remnants are so exceptional that a subterranean building with an information and catering function was constructed here. The heavy flank walls of the bulwark were partly raised again and in the created space a massive roof with kinked surfaces was placed, seemingly floating on branched steel columns. In the building, designed by Van Roosmalen van Gessel Architects, the old remnants of the fortifications remain visible. From 2015, this spot will be the gateway to town for touristic visitors. On the roof, one and a half metres above street level, a public rooftop park was realised.

The rooftop park is small, only 700 square metres, but suitable for intensive use with ample seating. It is wonderfully situated in a gentle curve of the Dommel which gives the park a wide view to both sides over the length of the river. In addition the rooftop park catches both the afternoon and evening sunshine. Eleven full grown Gleditsias were planted, which provide shelter and privacy for those reposing a moment on the benches or pull up a chair at the 6 metres long picnic table. You can truly enjoy the sunshine filtered by the foliage. The design of the rooftop park is in accord with the angular form of the building. The concrete tiles, specially designed for this project, form like a kind of ice floes, the slightly spherical ground level. A penetrable gravel carpet was put between the tiles so that the tree roots get water and air. The plant sections, partly in the plane and partly raised by corten steel edges, are also in shard like forms and filled with evergreen sedge species. Out of this green finery, the tree trunks, painted auburn with natural pigments, stick out cheekily thus wonderfully well matched to the rusty steel as if originating from it.

Commissioned by: city ‘s-Hertogenbosch
Location: ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands
Design rooftop park, street and jetty: OSLO Ontwerp Stedelijke en Landschappelijke Omgeving
Berlicum, Netherlands
Martien van Osch

Design building, restoration work and exterior space downstairs:
Van Roosmalen van Gessel Architecten e.p.
Delft, Netherlands
Marc van Roosmalen & Marlène van Gessel

Area: bulwark and surrounding: 2500 m2
rooftop park: 700 m2

Design rooftop park: 2012-2015
Realisation rooftop park: 2015
Budget rooftop park: € 160.000,–

Realisation rooftop park: Van Helvoirt Groenprojecten
Berkel Enschot, Netherlands

Photography: Tekton bouwmanagement, Niels van Empel, Marlène van Gessel, Martien van Osch, Maud van Roosmalen, Rosanna Schrijver.

Drawing: OSLO Ontwerp Stedelijke en Landschappelijke Omgeving

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