The design concept of the river bank is inspired on the scale and atmosphere of the river. The sturdy wall of steel has become the link between village and river, not by separating the two, but instead by giving both land and water more space.
The Dutch river landscape gained a stunning landmark. A new quay in explicit Corten steel protects the village of Cuijk against the unpredictable Meuse in the stormy weather of these days. Buro Lubbers designed the quay in such a way that the space also functions as a meeting place and a recreational; yacht basin.
Originated in Roman times, the village of Cuijk can look back at a long history on the Meuse river. Until the fifties of the twentieth century, Cuijk was located directly at the water front, merely protected against high water by a wall. In the fifties a dike was constructed which consequently forced buildings at the Meuse to give way. A main road on top of the dike further cut of the river from the centre of the village. A huge barrier between the village centre and the river with its scenery was the result.
The design concept of the river bank is inspired on the scale and atmosphere of the river. The sturdy wall of steel has become the link between village and river, not by separating the two, but instead by giving both land and water more space. This effect is created by banking the wall 10%, by seemingly bulking it out of the river bank. Herewith one experiences a fluent and spatial transition between quay and water, between village and landscape.
The quay itself is leveled and designed as a plateau of stelcon plates with border lines of corten steel. Whereas the lines provide a subtle layout, the concrete panels show the
contours of Roman archaeological finds, such as canals, a bridge pillar as well as explanatory texts.
The connection between quay and village centre is first of all created by an underpass of the dike. Besides, near the church, a combination of ramps and stairs is realised, that connects both locations. Via the ramps one can slowly descend to the quay, the intermediate steps offer a quick link between the riverside and the top of the bank. Both ramps and stairs function as a viewing gallery during events, such as the Four Days Marches of Nijmegen.
Along the waterfront wooden platforms with furniture are placed. Here visitors can quietly overlook the river. A surprising feature is that the existing port is integrated in the design of the quay by applying the same wooden materialization. The wide wooden arm embraces the river and offers a nice panoramic view.
Because of the location at the riverside, the design was determined by several technical conditions. The essence of the intervention was of course its function as dyke, preventing the Meuse from covering Cuijk. In today´s tempestuous climate, the struggle against water is increasingly important. Whereas the Meuse has an average elevation of +7.65 NAP, in times of high water it can state +13.50 NAP. Therefore the dam wall must have a minimal height of +15.00 NAP. The possibility of high water also had implications for the design of the elements in front of the wall, since these elements form obstacles in the river´s stream in times of high water. That is why the ramps and the stairs are constructed in such a way, that the pressure and aspiration of the water does not damage their construction. The total construction is thus prepared with 200 mm reinforced concrete, a massive layer that is so strong that it can not float and can exist independently of its foundation. The other elements, like the wooden platforms, are detachable so they can be removed at high tides.
Since 2008, the stunning intervention of Buro Lubbers reconnects the Meuse and the centre of Cuijk. The carefully executed design is characterised by daring and sophisticated measurements. The huge quayside does not compete with its environment, but forms a subtle harmony. The church that rises high above the quay, the cargo-vessels that pass by on the river, the green river forelands and the discharge docks, all complete each other. While the quay at the side of the town emanates security and the wooden seats at the waterfront offer a grand view, the view at Cuijk from the opposite of the Meuse has changed dramatically.
+ Project credits / data
Project: Maaskade Cuijk
Landscape architecture: Buro Lubbers | http://www.burolubbers.nl/
Commissioner: Municipality of Cuijk
In collaboration with: Ballast Nedam (engineering)
Location: Cuijk, Netherlands
Area: 11.000 m²
Photos and text: Buro Lubbers
Construction: Ballast Nedam
Pavement: Concrete slabs with brushstrokes / Concrete slabs with brushstrokes and weatherproof steel strips
+ Mission statement of Buro Lubbers
Buro Lubbers is a design studio for landscape architecture, urban development and the design of public space. Since 1993 the studio has been designing projects at all scale levels, for both private and public commissioners. The studio’s projects are characterised by a multidisciplinary approach, innovative expertise, sharp analysis, a sturdy and poetic expression and a critical eye for detail. An enthusiastic team takes care of a total product, from research to preservation.
Analysis, concept, design and expertise. These are the instruments to master the landscape and urban assignments, from the early beginning to the final detail, from urban to vegetation plan. In the phase of analysis each new assignment is reduced to its essentials. What exactly is the question of the commissioner? What is the heart of the matter? Then the assignment is approached in relation to its environment: the genius loci. At all scale levels the specific qualities of a place are carefully mapped and analysed from a multidisciplinary point of view. Threats and weaknesses are transformed into opportunities and strengths. The results of this integrating and contextualising strategy are surprising concepts which in their seemingly simplicity create a clear and firm identity. Subsequently, the design is based on a coherent and strong environmental framework, which leaves room for effortless adaptations in time. The studio aspires a green image. Whether it is a landscape or urban assignment, the green structure always is the basis of the plan. Furthermore, at every stage of the design process attention is given to details, control aspects and the use of materials. Practical realisation and sustainability are always the main subject.
Buro Lubbers realises a wide scheme of projects. Many different clients, like developers, city councils and other institutions, as well as housing corporations, agencies and private clients repeatedly provide new challenges. These challenges vary from urban development to (re-)designing public space and industrial areas; from urban planning to designing parks and squares; from regional and master plans of landscapes to developing industrial sites and pre- and after-war suburbs; from vegetation plans to small scale architecture. Besides the studio participates in design competitions and undertakes research.
Buro Lubbers is housed in the centre of ‘s-Hertogenbosch, centrally located in the Netherlands. The multidisciplinary studio consists of an enthusiastic group of about 26 people: landscape-architects, urban planners, architects, technical designers, artists and graphic designers. These professionals have a thorough command to proceed from assignment to realisation: research, design, visualisation, presentation, technical work out, calculation, supervision and management. A constructive dialogue between the designers, the commissioner and other parties is continually in the centre.
Preferably a team consists of at least two persons from different disciplines. One of these persons functions as project manager and contact person for the client. Because of the versatility of the commissions, Buro Lubbers is highly experienced in collaborating with external partners such as architects, urban developers and advisors on sub-sectors. In this framework the studio increasingly fulfils the role of supervisor, that directs the totality of the plan from urban development to housing and the design of public space.
+ All images courtesy Buro Lubbers
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