At the tip of the Piushaven Harbour in Tilburg, The Netherlands, deWerf (theWharf) has been completed. The Belgian architectural firm awg architects designed an urban and architectural plan flanking the venerable old, Pius Harbour. With its new park (designed by Juurlink[+]Geluk) deWerf is a meandering, low-rise, residential property featuring a striking tower. The project consists of 46 ground-level homes, 41 apartments, assisted-living space for 20 victims of Korsakoff's syndrome as well as underground parking facilities.
The project deWerf is part of a large-scale redevelopment plan for the Piushaven Harbour in the centre of Tilburg. The Piushaven Harbour was constructed during the 1920’s in order to connect the Wilhelmina Canal to the southern expanse of downtown Tilburg. For a great deal of the last century, the Piushaven Harbour was an important link in the city’s burgeoning textile industry. deWerf is one of many sub projects helping to transform Tilburg’s inner-city, harbour sites into viable residential and recreational areas.
deWerf is located on the northern banks of the Piushaven Harbour near the Wilhelmina Canal and is part of the “Armhoefse Akkers” neighbourhood that dates back to the 1930’s. The new urban design completes the existing, unfinished urban block. This culmination is achieved thanks to an unbroken stretch of single family homes that, through its scale and use of materials, seeks congress with the rest of the neighbourhood. At the water’s edge the building line meanders, forming in one generous gesture a series of public spaces on the port, each with its own specific character. Thus, waterfront homes arise right on the harbour and, established by several setbacks, other homes embrace an inviting playground, as well as a park-like space and an urban square.
At the end of the unbroken stretch of single family homes is a tower that serves as a reference point for that spot in the city. Furthermore, the tower indicates the transition between the urban and the rural. As well as being visible from many places in and outside the city, the tower itself affords a breath-taking view of Piushaven Harbour, of downtown Tilburg and of the vastness of the landscape beyond the Wilhelmina Canal. The tower was designed with an intelligent, structural framework allowing for various types of plans, adaptable to changing needs in the future.
The meandering building line dominates and characterizes the project. Sober, uniform architecture with an emphasis on detail and tectonics sets the focus on the series of public spaces along the water. In this way the architecture functions as décor for the urban realm: the individual character of the residence is subordinate to the communal interest.