Duchesse square

Commune de Molenbeek St-Jean
De Dender
The idea here was to act quickly on a limited budget and change a public space rapidly.

Renewal of the place de la Duchesse was part of the Écluse-St-Lazare neighbourhood contract in Molenbeek. BUUR and Stratec put forward the master plan aimed at radically changing how the square is used, namely almost exclusively for through traffic and parking. Although the aim was a complete alteration in use, actual work was limited and the total budget 4 times less than a fully-fledged alteration might have cost.

Re-working the roads meant the space could be divided in two: a multi-use paved forecourt for the market and other events and a proper ‘square’ to make the area greener. There is a pedestrianised forecourt providing security by the entry to the school. Moreover, even before work had ended new cafés and snack bars had opened and put in permit requests for terrace seating.