Press release

Vanhaerents, META, BOB361, Callebaut and OKRA win the competition for the re-purposing of the Normaalschool site in Lier

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Siska Claessens
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Vanhaerents, META, BOB361, Callebaut and OKRA win the competition for the re-purposing of the Normaalschool site in Lier

META, BOB361, Callebaut and OKRA, together with Vanhaerents, have won the competition for the Normaalschool site in Lier. The design team will build a start-up incubator and about 140 residential units on the site. By preserving the historically valuable buildings and fitting the new volumes into the existing inner area, a range of public, collective and private open spaces will be created.

Catalyst for the surroundings
The Normaalschool site in Lier spans a built-up area of more than 20,000 m2. Its redevelopment is designed to foster urban living through the construction of about 140 housing units in the inner area. The transformation of the site into a publicly accessible space provides an excellent opportunity to inject new life into densely built up centre, thereby turning it into a port of call for the immediate neighbourhood and the entire Lier region.

Mix of historic and new buildings
The early 20th-century school buildings lend a clear structure to the site. Despite the enormous potential of these volumes, they were considered outdated and the school was closed in 2012. The design team – META, BOB361, Callebaut architects and OKRA – opted to retain these historically valuable buildings and only demolish substandard structures to make room for new volumes.

A crossable inner area
The new volumes will fit perfectly within the existing fabric and create similarly-scaled public, collective and private open spaces. Each open space is distinguished by its specific character. The linking of these creates logical circulation axes throughout the site.

Programme for budding entrepreneurs
The programme consists of a public section with a catering business and a start-up incubator, 3 convenience stores and an office building. The incubator will become a breeding ground for entrepreneurs and creative people in Lier. Here, they will find all the facilities and networking opportunities they need to fully develop their businesses.

Homes in all their forms
Apart from the above, the site is exclusively residential. Every type of accommodation is foreseen: characterful homes that have been crafted out of the existing school patrimony, functionally designed new apartments for young starters and families, a co-housing project of about 10 units in the former monastery of De Kluis, 8 ground-level townhouses with private gardens, homes with a practice, multigenerational homes, serviced apartments and shell properties.

The inner area of the Normaalschool site spans the block formed by Berlaarsestraat, Sint-Gummarusstraat, De Heyderstraat and Kluizestraat.

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