SCULPTING THE VEGETATION: THE SCALE OF EMPTINESSAN ALTERED SPATIAL STRUCTUREThe progressive transformation of the historical fortifications has perhaps altered their extraordinaryspatial potential. A multitude of spaces of different forms, characters and uses have developedpunctually according to opportunity, and each space has evolved according to its own logic. Thisaccumulation has developed to the detriment of the overall spatial scale: that of open spacepreviously provided by the "glacis" and water which encompassed the historic centre.Today, the banks, often inaccessible, illegible, appear almost as those of a charming yet improbableriver. There is no space for recoil, no breathing space. The space is not a whole. The water reads asan extremity, a boundary, and not a wide open space, so necessary in a city with such a dense urbanfabric, which lacks any public spaces of ample dimensions.SEARCHING FOR THE SCALE OF THE EMPTINESSRedefine this void, and recreate a scale is the key concern of our proposal. In no case is it to make aformal historic restoration. The objective is to find the qualities of a great empty periphery whichappears to us as a spatial opportunity open to many uses. It offers above all a space of recoil; itcreates a distance to the city which supports a mental image that we may seize.Naturally many aspects of the future park must be developed; physical, programmatic, events basedaspects, issues related to governance. This can only take place with all the stakeholders involved andwith time, not possible within the frame of this short consultation. Nevertheless we are convincedthat a spatial evolution can both cause and determine all other actions.THE SCULPTING OF THE VEGETATIONThe spatial re-composition we propose is essentially the sculpting of the mass of trees and theremodeling of the slopes and topography. The sculpting of the vegetation consists of cutting,pruning, transplanting and planting trees in order to compose masses and voids, to reveal wherepossible open areas sloping to the canal such as the historical "glacis". We realize the difficulty of thisexercise, however we are persuaded that it constitutes an indispensable preliminary step towardsthe creation of the Singelpark.To avoid perversion of the concept or any desecration of the site, several rules should be followed:- The sculpting of the vegetation mass is a global vision for the park that unites all futuretransformations and all new projects with each and every stakeholder.- The sculpting of the existing vegetation privileges the planting of trees. We shall plant moretrees than that which are cut. The careful study and selection of trees shall seek to preservethe prominent and beautiful existing trees and will follow thorough consultation. Thepreserved trees will be revealed and magnified as individual monumental trees.- The sculpting of the vegetation mass is a reconstruction that is not a historical restoration.The intention is not to plagiarize the historic fortifications, but to play on the qualities ofopen space adjacent to the canal, with setback distances and the evidence of the emptinessand of forms.- The sculpting of the vegetation mass is not complicated to accomplish.- The sculpting of the vegetation mass is a prerequisite for the future Singelpark.
LANDFORM : TYPICAL SECTIONOur proposals may be resumed by a typical section.Exterior bank : creation of a ample continuous tree lined promenadeA new traffic plan of the city, can provide the opportunity to in time reconfigure the outside edge ofthe canal. Pragmatic studies which have been conducted in many European cities have ring roadsthat become a succession of segments related to one-way wider circuits. We propose that one laneof cars would be freed up, providing enough space for both maintaining the car parking spaces forthe neighbourhood residents and a beautiful and spacious continuous promenade opened up for thebenefit of both pedestrians and cyclists.Interior bank : in the image of a "glacis"The transformation here concerns creating wide open spaces wherever possible along the innerbank. This means on the one hand, re-qualifying existing parks and on the other hand, transformingsome neglected areas or industrialised and service areas.Canal side, the aim is to amplify the magnitude of the open spaces created. In order to achieve this,the spatial scale of reference must be minimized: very few roads, no fixed furniture between themajestic trees.City side, the "glacis" is supported against a densely wooded vegetation mass which bonds with thevarious facades of the built historic centre. All furniture and fixtures including playgrounds and themain pedestrian pathways will be installed at the redefined woodland edge .