Open competition for the public space surrounding the Belgenmonument

by S. Leenknegtw with Willem Bekers, 2016

The competition brief called for a spatial intervention alongside the "Belgenmonument", a brick WWI-memorial designed by Huib Hoste and Louis Van der Swaelmen, and constructed by Belgian -refugees interned near Amersfoort during the war. Specific attention was to be given to the theme of refugees, both in the past and in the present.

Our proposal entailed two methaphorical "landscape transplants"; the Landscape of War recalls the shelled fields around Ieper during WWI, and the Landscape of Flight brings the arrival coasts of the Mediterranean to the Netherlands. Both interventions were realised with only limited means. The terrain topography was reshaped with a mix of permeable paving and heath planting, offering surprising new paths and obstacles to those visiting the monuments. In the complex laying patterns for the paving, one could find a reference to the exceptional brickwork of the monument itself. These patterns, although very subtly presented, were generated using custom-made algorithms. Vertical and horizontal accents were added with wooden trunks, remniscent of both bombed forests and railway sleepers. These were also carriers of historical information regarding the monument and its wider context.

The Landscape of War/Landscape of Flight proposal would offer a new and unique experience to those visiting the Belgenmonument, connecting its layers of historical meaning to a modern-day intervention.

The proposal was exhibited by FASadE in Amersfoort, Stadsring 65-69, in the fall of 2016.