When you think about Brownfield areas, you don’t immediately think of nice living or recreation environments. These are areas with rough edges and summon up a less positive associations; sombre, grey, workshops and deserted areas. You certainly don’t think of these as being a nice places to live, recreate or work anytime in the near future.
So, how as a municipality, do you transform such an area into pleasant living and working environments, where people would like to be? Let us as RED Concepts take care of this, that’s what we are good at! Transforming areas or neighbourhoods which have less positive associations into the new ‘places to be’ – that’s what gets us excited. In 2008, RED redeveloped a former carpentry factory built in 1926 on the NDSM shipyard, into a media yard where MTV (now VIACOM) located its headquarters. In the years that followed, this area grew into a hip location.
Last year, a tender was launched for the redevelopment of the former Roto Smeets site in Deventer. Due to the bankruptcy of Roto Smeets de Boer, the municipality was looking for a new interpretation for the 50,000 m2 area. The former site is a transitional area between the port quarter and the port, with heavy industry on one side and on the other side is the railway track with the residential area starting behind it.
The area is full of history, but also evokes sentiment among old employees of Roto Smeets and many of the inhabitants of Deventer. For decades, Roto Smeets has been a household name in the neighbourhood and throughout the Netherlands. As a developer, it is a place where you have to embrace the history and try to preserve it.
RED Concepts, together with Harry Vroemen of TTDesign and our in-house architect and concept developer Paul Coenen presented the perfect plan for the redevelopment of this area. The plan was characterized by lively avenues and courtyards between transformed heritage and new construction. In addition to the living, working and recreation opportunities, we paid a lot of attention to preserving what Roto Smeets represented to so many residents of Deventer. The DNA of the site is rediscovered and made visible and tangible at the same time. Take for example, the concrete construction, you can put a lot of time and money into demolishing and rebuilding it, but RED and the architects believe in maintaining this construction and seeing how to use it functionally. As well as preserving history and creating an eye catcher, it can also save a lot of time and money.
Harry Vroemen talks about the plan:
“Redeveloping a Brownfield into a living environment that meets the contemporary demands and wishes of future users is an exciting and intriguing task for urban planners and architects.
These special places, often close to the centre, well connected to the road network, spacious, with lots of greenery and water buffers and their informal character, have a good mix of ingredients to make it a new destination with its own character. History, diversity of buildings, urban spaces and functions invite all partners to deviate from the rational without compromising the financial principles. Something very different from the expansion locations on the outskirts of many municipalities or cities, where living is the main function.
The Roto Smeets location has all these advantages. The place has even extras, an adjacent harbour, an industrial monument, and also a mega concrete construction from the printing presses. Elements that help determine the experience of the place. The fact that it is possible to build higher in this program, really puts this place on the map. We have therefore made optimal use of all the qualities of the location to offer users the best that this place has to offer, and in this way we add maximum value for our customer.
A very interesting plan was developed together with RED Concepts, in which living, working, shopping and relaxation have all found the right balance. This diversity in combination with an architecture that strengthens the unique identity of the project has the ability to add a new ‘place to be’ to Deventer.“