The future of inner city heavy industry

High-quality living around a concrete plant

The coarse industrial character of a concrete plant seems to contradict a high-quality living environment. Yet, thanks to strategic integration, surrounding homes can be fully protected against the nuisance caused by industry. The necessary interventions can be used to add quality and to make the city more livable.
In the period up to 2040, 210,000 homes must be added to the existing stock in the province of South Holland. Of this, 80,000 homes can possibly be built on current business parks near high-quality public transport hubs. Transformation of these, sometimes outdated, business parks into residential areas has already started in a number of cities.
Concrete plants with a high environmental contour are located on many of these industrial estates. Relocation of these power stations is not desirable because wet concrete cannot be transported over a long distance and must be available for construction activities in the city. However, these power stations cause nuisance that reduces the quality of the new homes to be built, or even makes it impossible to live in close proximity to a power station. Although this nuisance is likely to decrease in the near future due to cleaner and quieter techniques, it will not disappear completely.
In order to be able to live in the immediate vicinity of a concrete plant, among other things, new ways have to be found in which this urban and architectural can be integrated. A low-urban variant can be investigated in which a green buffer zone is placed around the plant, and a highly urban variant where the concrete plant is completely packed with a building block of houses and facilities.
In the low-urban situation, part of the nuisance from the concrete plant is removed by placing a green noise barrier around the concrete plant. As a result, the obstacle contour becomes smaller, and homes can be placed closer to the central than without shore. The shore itself serves as a recreational object, equipped with bicycles and hiking trails. The green zone around the plant serves as a park, in which the remains of former industrial objects are given a recreational function and, for example, can host events.
In the highly urban situation, the concrete plant is surrounded with a function that does not have to be protected against nuisance, such as a parking garage. This function serves as a buffer, and a residential program is placed directly outside it. The whole is fitted with a transparent ETFE roof, so that the immediately surrounding city is fully protected against the nuisance of the plant. All industrial activities such as mixing the concrete and unloading ships take place within it. The fully shielded interior offers possibilities for multiple use. The roof guarantees a soft and light indoor climate that allows the growth of exotic plant species, allowing residual spaces around the concrete plant to serve as a tropical city garden. During the weekend, when the concrete plant is not in use, the space can be used for all kinds of events that, thanks to the protective shell, will not cause any inconvenience. In the distant future, when the concrete plant has become superfluous, homes can also be placed on the inside.
In both the low-urban and the highest-urban integration variant, quality is added to the city through a strategic integration and the living environment is improved.