Green square offers peace and quiet in hectic city centre
To escape the frenetic activity of downtown Eindhoven, one can now relax in the green oasis at Mathilde Square. After shopping or a long day at the office, here one can quietly enjoy a drink on the terrace or sit down on a bench among lush plants. In its own serene way the new square highlights one of Eindhoven's major icons, the Light Tower.
Versatility guided the principles for the Mathilde Square. The square had to add value to the series of public squares and places in Eindhoven's inner city, it had to showcase the Light Tower and the semi-public square needed to host different functions. Mathilde Square was a challenge not only in terms of its design and urban integration requirements, but also in its demand for technical finesse. Located on the concrete deck of a parking garage, there was little space between deck and ground level for drainage, the paving and other engineering structures. Despite these conditions an ingenious drainage system of labyrinth drip hoses and a keen lay-out of planters and tiles are realized which add up to the overall quality of the square.
The amorphous form of the planning area demanded an exacting structure that brings serenity and also guarantees an optimal view of the Light Tower. The design concept is therefore based on rigid lines that run counter to the building. A feel of human scale is the result. The unity of the design is accomplished by using consistent shapes and materials. Thus the surface is paved with just one material: a dark gray concrete slab resembling natural stone. This gray carpet is laid in a rigid, complex pattern and is surrounded by a plinth that distinguishes the square from the building and also highlights the difference in level between the parking deck and the environment. The square becomes an enclave with its own distinctive identity. The difference in level distinguishes between on the one hand the hectic city life and on the other the intimate and green area of the square. These divergent worlds are also emphasized by the fence around the square, which serves mainly as a security measure. Wisteria and roses overgrow the adjacent pergola and create a transparent barrier, offering passersby a glimpse of the green atmosphere and the terraces.
Elongated Corten steel planters create a stripe pattern. This produces alternating open and closed spaces, suitable for routing and terraces. The stripes of varying length, width and height integrate wooden benches and bicycle stands. The strips on the square are formed by elongated Corten steel planters of varying length, width and height. This produces alternating open and closed spaces, suitable for routing and terraces. At several spaces between the containers, wooden benches and bicycle stands are positioned. The robust color of the Corten steel, the warm look of natural wood and the gray pavement, form an interesting contrast to the white, gray and black tones of the building. The most striking color accent, however, is the vegetation. In all seasons the hedgerow structure of evergreen plants and seasonal flowers will result in an attractive image. Rhododendrons in containers are high green accents. Even at night when the plants are illuminated from below, the Mathilde Square is an inviting, friendly place.
Buro Lubbers is a Dutch design studio for landscape architecture, urban development and the design of public space. Since 1993 the studio has been designing projects at all scale levels, for both private and public commissioners. The studio's projects are characterized by a multidisciplinary approach, innovative expertise, sharp analysis, a sturdy and poetic expression and a critical eye for detail. An enthusiastic team takes care of a total product, from research to preservation.