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Old September 21st, 2018, 10:26 PM   #1
MrAronymous
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HEERLEN | Maankwartier | U/C

Thought I'd share a great city center project going on in the Dutch city of Heerlen.

About Heerlen
Heerlen is a small city in the Parkstad urban area in Zuid-Limburg, right next to the German border. At the start of last century Heerlen experienced a huge boom in population and wealth because of the coal mines in the area. At one point about 70% of the national GDP was made here. People flocked to the city, from rich mine execs to general workers.

Then however, the mines got close in the 1960-1970s resulting in 70,000 jobs lost. The city emptied out and started to decline. In an attempt to modernize the city, a lot of buildings got replaced and demolished in the 70s and 80s. The result is that we're now left with many storefronts empty, have ugly cheap looking awnings and that some places are emptier than they used to be. The area around the station is a prime example of that.

The city area now still has to deal with population decline, because job opportunities are more limited compared to elsewhere. In 2003 Heerlen was about one of the worst places you could find in the country when it came to poverty, crime and had the worst train station in the country.

About Maankwartier
Maankwartier ("Moon Quarter") was designed by artist (not architect) Michel Huisman. When designs for a new station were proposed in the early 2000s he got angry. None of the designs aimed to fix the problems in the station area. The designs made were more or less wide bridges across the tracks, still making the area feel like a huge barrier to cross and still dividing the two sides of the tracks. Maankwartier aims to fix that by building all kinds of functions and amenities around the station and making public space by making town squares and connecting those to each other an the environment. That way it shouldn't feel like a barrier when getting over the 'hill' across the station.

It is named after the moon because the moon reflects light. Maankwartier should reflect what Heerlen is all about. On Maanplein (Moon Square) there's a mirror tower called Heliostaat that reflects sunlight into the water ornament and parking garage. Continuing the astrology theme, Michel Huisman will make artwork throughout the structure that reflect 89 modern and acient constellations.

The architecture is inspired by Italian mountain cities, local Romanesque architecture, local chalk white architecture of Zuid-Limburg and industrial mining heritage.

The project is slated to finish half 2019.

Images

Old station


Old station environment (piss corners and junkies not pictured)


One of the proposed plans


Maankwartier


Northern side


City center side






Progress

Quote:
Originally Posted by k0en View Post
September:









Quote:
Originally Posted by RZ height & transport View Post


Maanplein




Bus station




Videos

Building timelapse


Building overview earlier this year


'Walk-through'


New station


Overview (must-watch)
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Old November 7th, 2018, 05:29 PM   #2
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Webcam today, south/city center side


New lighting fixtures in the collonade (as can be seen in the image above)


Lightweight expanded polystyrene blocks that are used to fill the ground between the parking garage and the park on top


Trees for the park will be arriving this week


Just found out today that the lighting fixtures on the bus station refer to Heerlen's dark past: heroin needles...


Some more artwork being installed: Solar system
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Old November 7th, 2018, 05:38 PM   #3
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I'm very impressed. Everything about this project looks high quality. Good for Heerlen - and let be an example for other cities on how to tie two parts of a city together (and create space for housing and retail at the same time).
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Old November 19th, 2018, 06:59 PM   #4
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Some trees planted



New station hall



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Old January 25th, 2019, 10:38 PM   #5
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Earthworks


Archways






Detail


Station on the left, shops on the right


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Old January 27th, 2019, 08:08 PM   #6
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Nice! I did not know about this project.
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Old March 22nd, 2019, 06:37 PM   #7
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Scaffolding on the hotel have come down



More trees on the way



The designer



Stairs nearly finished



Works on the new station

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Old May 3rd, 2019, 03:20 AM   #8
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Outlines of the park



More greenery





Re-used 100+ year old French fences





New lanterns



All planets in position



Progress on the station hall 'conservatory'





Bus station entry



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Old May 3rd, 2019, 05:31 PM   #9
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I remember going to Heerlen back in the late 80's when I was stationed across the border in Geilenkirchen. Myself and friends would go to the movie theater there to see more current American releases and to the nearby McDonalds, which was the closet one around and when you haven't had an American fast food fix in months. I think the theater was in that Royal building that is showed above if I'm not mistaken.
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Old May 5th, 2019, 09:03 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mplsuptown View Post
I remember going to Heerlen back in the late 80's when I was stationed across the border in Geilenkirchen. Myself and friends would go to the movie theater there to see more current American releases and to the nearby McDonalds, which was the closet one around and when you haven't had an American fast food fix in months. I think the theater was in that Royal building that is showed above if I'm not mistaken.

The Royal cinema, built in 1938, is designated as national heritage. Unfortunately the doors of the cinema closed in 2014 due to bad financial results. Untill now attemps to find a new company to exploit the cinema have failed. Vue Cinemas was interested but they pulled out because of the high costs. There are plans to use the Royal (temporarily) for art house films.



Due to the closing of the mines and following effects, political mistakes and a decreasing population, Heerlen's vacancy rate in the retail and office market is one of the highest (maybe the highest) in The Netherlands. I hope it will thrive again once Maankwartier is finished.
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Old May 6th, 2019, 04:02 AM   #11
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Thanks for the update. Glad my memory isn't so bad after 30 plus years. Yes let's hope things will turn around for the area. I used to live across the border from Sittard and loved that town, especially its center. Maastricht was also very nice. I took my grandparents up to the American cemetery there, my grandfather fought in that area back during WW2. He could point out names of fellow soldiers that he knew and pointed out a barn down the hill they took shelter in. I visited Amsterdam at least 16 times and usually with different people. Got to the point I couldn't endure another canal boat tour. The Dutch people are some if not the best I met in all of Europe, Denmark ranks right up there.
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Old May 7th, 2019, 02:04 PM   #12
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That looked good! Especially the bus station.
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Old May 9th, 2019, 02:51 PM   #13
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Asphalt paving - will get a yellow top layer.





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Old May 15th, 2019, 08:10 PM   #14
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Ochre



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Old May 20th, 2019, 10:56 AM   #15
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Very interesting development. I like the mixture of styles and designs, some postmodern and 80's parts as well. Seems a bit oversized too, but unique.
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Old May 31st, 2019, 09:59 PM   #16
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Plants!




Lanterns!
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Old July 17th, 2019, 09:49 PM   #17
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The 5 August station opening is nearing

Quote:
Originally Posted by k0en View Post


Here you can see the sense of scale
Quote:
Originally Posted by k0en View Post
Some more repaving done. The Lion on the wall will be a fountain.
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Old August 3rd, 2019, 02:05 PM   #18
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The temporary bridge of the temporary station is gone now









Lettering - bit silly they put the Heerlen above station. The proper Dutch word order would be 'station Heerlen'


Clip showing the different routes to the station
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Old August 6th, 2019, 12:02 AM   #19
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Station officially back in use and reopened at 5 o'clock this morning. The official opening of the entire project is at the end of this month.





Luc Lodder





Luc Lodder







So far not really impressed with the station interior. A new ceiling and flooring would be welcome. Maybe they're still working on it.
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Old November 14th, 2019, 09:00 PM   #20
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Some businesses are still scheduled to open and some public space in the surrounding area is still being repaved, but the building is done. > Com
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