AGORA – Central Square, an ambitious design concept
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Central Square, an ambitious design concept

The early stages of the new Central Square quarter are becoming clearer. Business, housing, services, shops, AGORA is launching a very trendy urban concept

Summer 2020. In the Square Mile car park, the first items of machinery appeared around the sintering ponds of the former sintering plant. Further to the west, power shovels are working to prepare the ground on which the first three buildings of the quarter will gradually be erected. Millenium, Twist, Manhattan, the three projects reflect the urban concept envisioned by AGORA. Modern, mixed, vibrant, the signal is given for the big launch of the new heart of Belval!

Conceived as a distinctive signature, the quarter will sit on a reinterpretation of the traces of the past. The audacious style of the buildings, the inventiveness of the housing solutions, the transparency of the office buildings have been designed with attention to detail. They echo the exceptional quality of the public space designed around the two former sintering ponds of the sintering plant.

At the centre of the Square Mile business quarter, Central Square is not just an extension of it: it has its own character. A lively quarter in a resolutely international atmosphere. A living business quarter that offers the full range of an urban centre and all the services of everyday life.

Here, the ground floors are earmarked for services and shops. The façades opening onto inner courtyards are well maintained. No architectural detail is left to chance.

The passer-by is also immersed in a feeling of harmony: the materials used are natural. This is the realm of raw and matt surfaces, the use of minerals and metals, warm, grey or neutral tones, and the opening of transparent glass façades.

The sculptural effect is stunning. This open and continuous quarter is primarily designed for pedestrians. The Place des Bassins, the pedestrian axis and the courtyards of buildings link together naturally. They offer a great feeling of freedom and security.

A trendy lifestyle

Residents are comfortably accommodated on the upper floors. Completely unprecedented concepts are presented. In addition to the classic apartments of various sizes, there are other options on offer. Shared housing, concierge services, integrated workspaces, everyone will find their own lifestyle, from young independent professionals to large families.

The architectural and urban planning is designed to encourage conviviality and good neighbourliness. After a day's work a barbecue may be organised on a sunny roof terrace. Others will prefer to meet in the shade in the courtyards and inner gardens to exchange ideas. On the rooftops, urban agriculture has not been forgotten. Placing humans at the centre of our thinking is the credo developed by AGORA!

The future is bright

Three property projects are starting. Their names are Millennium, Twist and Manhattan Manhattan. This first tranche covers a total surface area of approximately 38,000 m². As of 2023, it will enable 400 additional residents to be housed in Belval and will offer new tertiary and service spaces.  Other projects are in the pipeline. Of the seven plots still available, five are at the design stage. Later, a final residential development opening onto the "Um Belval" park will be launched. In total, AGORA is preparing nearly 200,000 m2 of living space for the next few years. A new "urban village" of 2,500 inhabitants is being born!

Both a contrast to and a reminder of the past

Soon it will be difficult to imagine that this area will have previously accommodated a temporary car park for fifteen years. It will also take a great deal of imagination to remember the former sintering site, the unit where iron ore reduced to powder was transformed into pellets to be used as fuel for the blast furnaces.

And yet, at one end of the pedestrian zone, the Place des Bassins is there, nearby, at the centre of the quarter. A mirror facing the silhouette of the two giants of the Terrasse des Hauts-Fourneaux.

Built on and around the foundations of the former basins, the square is the result of an international architectural competition won by the Luxembourg firm METAFORM in association with the urban planners "Latz + Partner" (DE) and structural engineers "HLG" (LU).

Its designers decided to connect the two basins of the former industrial plant with an endless ramp. A loop that wraps them in the shape of an "infinite loop". To the south, the first basin forms a small amphitheatre surrounded by tiers. The north basin will have a lounge bar and a restaurant with large bay windows opening onto a panoramic terrace. It will be complemented below by a vast space with the appearance of an aquarium and verdant gardens.

An ambitious concept

For Vincent Delwiche, Managing Director of AGORA, the Place de Bassins is "a work of art, an ambitious concept for the use and creation of public space that contributes to the creation of a high-quality living space".

The memory of the past can be found in a dynamic and contemporary urban setting. With this project AGORA creates a unique urban identity in Luxembourg and the Greater Region, an invitation to stand in amazement!

"REGARDS CROISES" is series proposed by AGORA with the aim to tell the story of a project since its birth.

Discover all the articles of this series by clicking on the tag below.