Meet Ewald, cultural heritage expert at Tractebel

18 Apr 2022

To celebrate the World Heritage day on April 18th, Ewald Wauters, our Landscape expert, tells us all about the project on the R30 Bruges Railway station area, explaining how Tractebel helped to preserve and protect this rich heritage in the medieval city of Bruges, listed as World Heritage by Unesco.

Nowadays, there are a number of unsafe/black spots along the R30 ring road, in the vicinity of the railway station of Bruges. The unsafe nature of these spots is linked to the rapid succession of conflict points in combination with the importance of the station area for almost all traffic modes.

The aim of this study is to provide solutions to the bottlenecks and ambitions of the area. A framework vision is formulated in which concrete solution proposals for the surroundings of the Stationsplein and the Unesco roundabout are elaborated.
The most important infrastructure proposed is a tunnel passing under the R30 road and bridges for pedestrians across the city moat. 

In this study, Tractebel is responsible for the problem analysis and the preliminary design for different subareas. Based on technical research and discussions with stakeholders, the technical and design requirements were drafted.

All this has to be done taking into account the heritage values of the site: the station building, the remains of the city wall and moat, the tree collection, etc. All these elements are listed or are part of the Unesco World Heritage conscription of the city of Bruges.

Since the city of Bruges is listed as World Heritage by Unesco, an Heritage Impact Assessment was needed.

Working within an heritage context should not be considered as obstacle, but as a challenge and starting point for the solution. Involving heritage experts from the beginning avoids conflict later on, but also provides essential information on how to read in interpret the context, what type of heritage values are involved and how to integrate heritage values in the new design.

By adopting a proactive attitude, the existing heritage is not only preserved, but is also valorized. The ramparts, that suffered a lot due to the construction of the R30 ring road are now put to value and integrated in the new design.

By involving heritage experts both from the city side and from Tractebel, the project was enriched and can be endorsed by all parties involved.

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