The Kempen landscape, west of the city of Eindhoven, with its woodlands, bulging fields, heaths and stream valleys, is strikingly beautiful. The villages and hamlets sprinkled across the landscape contribute significantly to the character of the Kempen region and the charms it possesses. Its rural identity and qualities are also important carriers for the changes that occur in the municipality of Eersel. In this solidly agricultural region, the importance of housing and leisure are growing.
In a participatory process, local residents, experts and specialists from each village and hamlet cooperated to create a Visual Quality Plan (BKP) for the villages. The BKP guides the sustainable developments the municipality of Eersel seeks to stimulate. In the BKP, the landscaping of the historical streets (the ‘lifelines’) is combined with coherent planning and design principles.
For example, it identifies specific local knowledge and qualities. The strength of a Kempen village is first of all determined by its farmyards centred around a crossroads to neighbouring villages. Secondly, by the unique combinations formed by the buildings and farmyard setups with rows of trees, perimeter edges and adjacent fields. These are all included in the BKP.
– landscape architect Wijnand Bouw, BoschSlabbers
Analysis of the landscape and evolution of each village makes identification of unique village elements possible. In addition, there are generic elements that are found in each village and typical for the Kempen region. The first part of the plan presents a map showing which spatial elements together make up the public spaces of the village. These elements are regionally specific, such as the typical tree species (green), paths and roads (grey) and street furniture (red). In the second part of the plan, these maps have been detailed to street level. The spatial “bad apples” of the villages, such as a petrol station in a former farmyard or a burnt building, have been designated as locations for development.
– designer Rien van Huis, BoschSlabbers
Each village and hamlet of the municipality possesses a unique character. In the project, each has retained its individual atmosphere. At the same time, the villages are also knitted more tightly together, by the new landscaping of public spaces and by the restoration of typical rural Kempen characteristics and spaces.
Title: Visual Quality Plan for the villages of Eersel
Location: Eersel, Noord-Brabant, NL
Size: 8300 ha
Client: Municipality of Eersel
Cooperation: Scala architecten
Type: Visual Quality Plan
Price/publication: Brabant Style Award 2014, honorable mention
Image credits: BoschSlabbers, Municipality of Eersel
Project code: HS 10-05