town centre strategy Putten [NL]

During the design process of the town block on the Achterstreet in Putten it became clear that the municipality had no clear strategy on how to deal with this part of the town centre. In the previous years different buildings arose on different locations but every new building was a separate incident. When the Renault plot was up for sale the municipality realised the necessity for a strategic plan for this part of the centre.

We  studied not only the Achterstreet but how the entire centre worked. In the last years the centre lost some of its attractive qualities and its coherence. The lack of advertising policy, for example, made the centre quite messy.

The analysis showed us the importance of the qualities of small scale, individual opportunities and a contemporary style. Up until now the municipality prescribed a historicist style for all new buildings. We feel this approach did not do justice to the existing buildings in the centre where old monuments are neighboured by buildings from the 1960’s. They have very little relation with one another but, because they all look old, the municipality came up with their historicist approach. We think new buildings in the centre should look like new buildings and not as cheap, fake old ones. All the different styles of the different periods of building give the centre its character.

On the urban planning level there was also plenty to gain in terms ofsustainability. By moving the car traffic of the Achterstreet to the South a larger pavement can be made on the sunny shop side of the street. This allows restaurants to make their terraces in the sun, enriching the whole shopping area.

study: 2008