Call for design teams Over De Ring / On The Ring

Project Update, 12.12.2016

In early 2016, the Flemish government appointed intendant Alexander D’Hooghe, with the assignment to prepare a road cover and liveability project by the beginning of 2018 for the R1 (the Ring through Antwerp). The intendant wishes to concretize the cover for the Ring with implementation projects by (a pool of) five design teams. The goal of realizing a cover over the Ring is a historic opportunity that can fundamentally transform the city. For the first time the inner and outer city can be structurally connected with each other through the realization of a large park element around the city. The potential social benefit is also greater greater than simply better access to mobility or a healthier environment. The cover is a wide-reaching urban project that can improve liveability in many diverse areas. The cover will add public green and shared public space to the city, as well as boulevards, plazas, parking, public transportation and space for new developments and monuments.

The mission of the intendant translates chiefly into the investigation of achieving consensus for a complete cover for the Antwerp Ring, in order to give form to follow-up projects. The intendantship is a two-year process, from the beginning of 2016 to the beginning of 2018.

What happened prior…
In the autumn of 2016, the ambition statement for the cover for the Ring was set up. That statement bundles the results of 10 months of intensive consultation and collaboration with various stakeholders. On the one hand, a coalition was formed for the project, and on the other hand, a vision for the complete cover was created, together with the stakeholders. The goal statement does not document a final plan, but functions as a compass for the further collaboration between the stakeholders and the design teams.

This call is launched as the next phase of the intendantship to cover the ringroad of Antwerp, and is aimed at multidisciplinary design teams, to draw up road caps, liveability and other design projects on and bordering the ring zone in Antwerp. The project will start (during the intendantship) in 2017 with a first design phase in which five design teams will each prepare a design vision for a different segment of the Ring (fee: 300.000 euros incl. taxes).

The intendant’s team provides a spatial and process framework that covers the relationship between the segments. For that, via the project at hand, an appeal is being made to the international design community: the best city planners, urban designers, landscape designers, infrastructure experts and engineers in the world get the opportunity to further work out these segments.

Bringing together a stakeholder coalition for the ring cover is a crucial task for the design teams, and is considered indivisible from the spatial design, via co-creation and participation. The visions of different citizen initiatives should be integrated, and their authors involved as stakeholders in the process. The cover project does not consider the Ring purely as infrastructure, but also and especially as a shared space in the city; the project thus includes technical, spatial, social and cultural layers. The ultimate goal is to completely cover the ring, however, this can only be achieved in phases as partial segments.

After the completion of the first design phase in early 2018, it is expected – without the contracting government being obligated to do so – that a number of follow-up and related projects will be realized with the same pool of five design teams. The follow-up and related projects can concern:

– further urban development study and/or the translation into planning documents and/or the preparation of the execution design (complete contracts for architecture, infrastructure designs, traffic and mobility studies and public space as well as landscape design through delivery) with respect to the designs realized in the first design phase for one or more of the six segments;
– the realization of pilot projects identified in the first design phase within one or more segments;
– segment-crossing projects (design of landscape structures, infrastructures and other critical continuities);
– advisory projects (e.g. quality control).

The ambition for this project is excellence. It is related to a process that can initiate a structural transformation of the Antwerp metropolitan area, with a series of large projects that are related to each other but with each allowing its own authorship and identity. The mission is to heal the city, to connect neighbourhoods, and to design, phase and work out new landscapes, monuments and infrastructure. The method of working is different than in the past: designers will collaborate with the underlying neighbourhoods and other stakeholders to formulate solutions. Exceptional design capability and quality – both urban planning, landscape, architecture and infrastructure – are therefore essential to achieve an excellent result with this complex project.

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