The public space of within the city of Mechelen is greatly renovated in recent years, undergoing a real metamorphosis; from anonymous city to a destination. Mechelen Centrum Impulse has had an important role in this transformation. For each of the projects within the Centre Impulse an integrated approach towards archaeology, mobility on land and on water, tourism and regeneration of the city centre are all represented in our approach, vision and realised in the specific designs. The centre impulse consists of a number of individual projects comprising the Melaan, Sint Katelijnestraat, Hoogstraat-Korenmarkt, Lange Schipstraat and the Vlietenkelder. All designed by OKRA Landscape Architects.
Water in the city In 2005 within the framework of the European Initiative Water in Historic city centers, OKRA started in opening up the Melaan in Mechelen. After Melaan the Sint Katelijnestraat was redesigned by OKRA where the stream is represented at the Stadsheimelijkheid (square) by a large water table. On the floor is a beautiful accent line with the typical droplet pattern, which can also be found on the seat edge of the Melaan, these accent lines mark the streams that cannot be opened. Besides the Melaan and the water table in the Sint Katelijnestraat OKRA designs the stream in the Zelestraat where part of the stream again will be opened in the street. In addition, a shorter length of the vault of the stream is made visible as part of showing the historical stratification of Mechelen. Underneath the IJzerenleen is also a former stream. By transforming the vault underneath the IJzerenleen into Vliet Cellar again a piece of history and an old stream is revealed in the city center. In the vault of the stream is a large room, which serves as an exhibition space.
Clear tissue Mechelen Centrum Impulse encompasses more than just making visible the invisible and thus reducing the flow in the streets of the city. It is also about defining space types and making qualitative public space. In the urban fabric urban radians play an important role. Sint Katelijnestraat with the other adjacent square around the Sint Katelijne Church and the Hoogstraat starting at the Brusselse Poort to the Dijle are radials already redone. And the Lange Schipstraat, the southern shore, has been redesigned with a special attention to the relationship with the Dijle.
Making area’s In addition to the projects that mainly revolve around creating length and tangible curved the pattern of the urban fabric, there are also a number of qualitative spaces at the center of Mechelen added. We can mention the small stack along the Lange Schipstraat, Sint Katelijne Cemetery, de Stadsheimelijkheid, the Ganzendries as well as also the Korenmarkt.
The Korenmarkt is a square with many historical meaning. It is one of the oldest squares of the city from which the city was created, the dry sand ridge and was in earlier days an important trading place for amongst others grain. OKRA designed the square so that the height difference to the Dijle tangible is made visible because it is a stepped square. The sand colored floor refers to the sand surface and the grain that was traded here. The Korenmarkt is again a destination. A place to enjoy and, above all, a square for the residents.