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Etten-Leur, Nederland


Etten-Leur (Nederland)

Shopping center + public space + new housing (urban regeneration)

3,0 Ha (project area); 37,5 Ha (reflection site)


EUROPAN 17 competition – 2nd prize

Shifting to a new approach
Sales are the exemplification of a model that degrades both the retailer and the consumer by promoting dynamics that also end up degrading urban life and the environment.
In our view, neither architecture nor commerce are the main problems in this site, but rather the deformation of both under the impulse of consumerism that has led to an unsustainable urban, social and ecological situation.
Our proposal is an approach on how the transition from a “consumption-based” urban model to a “living-based” one can be driven by urban and architectural strategies.

Contemporary heritage
Over the years, several modifications and extensions were made to the original building, distorting its image and making it lose most of its strengths.
The starting point of our proposal is based on three reflections:
1. A new connected urban centre: The shopping centre has been absorbed into the town centre, but has not been integrated into the urban fabric.
2. Reprogramming a monofunctional site: The monofunctionality of the complex is not in line with a sustainable living model and promotes unhealthy consumption routines.
3. An ecological transition: The anthropisation of the centre has left no room for biodiversity, nor has it taken into account present and future environmental impact.

The following strategies will articulate the urban and architectural proposal:

1. Recycling / Reusing
- Integrating the original architecture and revealing its qualities.
- Considering the additions as areas of opportunity for the new architecture.

2. Adding
- Redefining the perimeter to improve its urban integration.
- A new structural grid defines and articulates the extension.

3. Public and green
- A new covered public multi-purpose space for a living city.
- Greenfronts instead of storefronts promoting biodiversity.

4. Food as an engine of transforming the model
The global food-system is responsible for almost 30% of greenhouse gas emissions. We propose a reprogramming of the building to include food-related spaces and uses that promote a more responsible and healthy way of consuming food.

5. Growing
In our view, increasing density in urban centres is desirable, but it should prioritise typological diversity, inclusivity and adaptability.
We take the decision to disperse the new buildings in order to prevent a very pronounced growth in height and to generate less impact with the neighbouring dwellings.

6. Step by step
Smaller units are combined into medium-size clusters, each of which could function autonomously and could therefore be built separately.

7. From highway to greenway
The proposal would clearly have a local impact in the city centre, but we believe it could have a greater scale impact if the discontinuity of the green in the site can be successfully bridged.

Länk Arquitectes
Contributors: Leire Blanco, Inés Clavell

City of Etten-Leur

Länk Arquitectes

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