Lebuinus Squares Deventer

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Location: Deventer / The Netherlands / Type: Flood Resilience / Squares and Plazas / Water features / Built: 2022 /
Show on Google Maps / Published on June 6, 2023

Grandeur blended with conviviality: Lebuinus squares Deventer

Kissing squares

On the spot where the Hanseatic city of Deventer originated stands the overwhelmingly large Lebuinus church. However, the associated former cemetery and surrounding squares lacked this grandeur. Separately decorated, cluttered and, moreover, nothing had been done to them for decades. The bumpy asphalt on the Stromarkt, the Nieuwe Markt a mishmash, unimaginatively filled with parking spaces, the Grote Kerkhof bare and uninviting.

The biggest challenge was not to design a good redesign, but to make a plan that could count on broad support and co-ownership, and therefore would actually be realised and experienced! We started with a redevelopment plan for the Grote Kerkhof. But we soon sought coherence with the other squares. The design also includes the other squares around the church, such as Stromarkt and later Nieuwe Markt, and is an overall composition. The squares merge naturally, ‘kissing’ each other, and providing a warm welcome when entering the city from the IJssel.

Centuries-old squares more sustainable into the future

The redesign of the Lebuinus squares takes climate change into account in various ways in the heart of the historical city:

Trees, greenery and cooling – The increased amount of greenery in the city centre provides more shade and also better dispersed shade. This reduces heat stress. Besides the 28 trees that remain, a total of 21 new trees will be added. We chose different species, also to prevent that if a tree disease breaks out in one species, all the trees suddenly die. The large water surface in which children can splash around provides for a lot of evaporation, which also has a cooling effect.

Use of materials – The paving of the ‘old’ Grote Kerkhof consisted largely of a mishmash of baked thick-surfaced clinker bricks. These were ‘mixed’ and reused into a mixed mix, avoiding new CO2 emissions and road kilometres. Around the Lebuinus church, the new square has been given semi-paving made of regional ‘Achterhoeks padvast’ (Dutch semi-paving). This paving is more permeable to water and, together with the lighter colour, has a positive effect on possible heat stress.

Disconnecting rainwater – With the redevelopment of Lebuinuspleinen, existing streets were broken up. Remarkably, the Lebuinus Squares, surrounding roofs, part of the Maria Church and the huge roof of the Lebuinus Church were completely disconnected from the sewer system. The rainwater enters a new, separate infiltration system. This system buffers rainwater and infiltrates it into the sandy subsoil, creating more space and buffering capacity in the existing wastewater system and preventing dehydration.

Height profile new design – The public space is designed to act as a buffer during heavy rainfall. For instance, the Stromarkt (and also the Nieuwe Markt in the future) is provided with a so-called ‘hollow’ profile. This allows more water to be temporarily collected in the public space. The paving of Grote Kerkhof has been given a slope away from the facades. Rainwater is collected in a gutter near the bluestone band, which is further away from the buildings. But the natural slope towards the river IJssel is not disturbed either. It fulfils the function of a ‘calamity buffer’, so that individual properties are protected from flooding in case of heavy rainfall.

Project Data

Landscape Architecture: BoschSlabbers
Design year: 2019 – 2021
Year Built: 2021-2022
Photographer: Jeroen Musch, Milartmedia, Bart Ros, Rob van der Laan
Manufacturers of urban equipment: StudioDL (light architect), Industrielicht (light masts)
Manufacturers of playground equipment: Rots maatwerk & Alliage foundry (water element)
Client: Municipality of Deventer

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