AGORA – Once upon a time there was Esch-Schifflange and its new quarter “Metzeschmelz”
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Once upon a time there was Esch-Schifflange and its new quarter “Metzeschmelz”

After 140 years of steelmaking, the site of one of Luxembourg’s steelworks is about to write a new page in its history.

Ideally located between Esch-sur-Alzette and Schifflange, about one kilometre from each town centre, this industrial wasteland shows enormous redevelopment potential as part of the “Metzeschmelz” project. Designed and managed by AGORA, this new quarter will be unique in Luxembourg with a totally innovative urban planning approach that puts people at centre stage.

Yves Biwer, AGORA Administrative Director : After the huge success of Belval, a project that started in 2000 and is still growing, the brand new “Metzeschmelz” represents a real opportunity for the municipalities of Esch and Schifflange. It has been designed and conceived so that future residents lack nothing: sports activities, local shops, leisure activities, primary and secondary schools or nurseries and of course the best possible connection to the various public transport networks such as trains with the construction of a new station but also fast trams, which will link the capital to the south of the country.

The project is also planning “mobility hubs” all round the site in order to relieve the different zones of cars as much as possible. Since mobility is changing dramatically, these buildings could very easily be converted into offices our housing, depending on the respective demands. Residents will be able to enjoy the peace and safety of soft mobility throughout the site not to mention the option of driving to their homes to bring in groceries or other purchases for greater convenience.

The history of the site and of all the people who have contributed to the success of the Esch-Schifflange steelworks will be an integral part of the project. Buildings such as the water tower, the pumping station and some of the production halls will be retained and given new functions. The industrial soul of the site will be omnipresent with some of the production parts that could be found here when the industrial activity was at its height.

Former employees who were very committed to the human aspect of the work at the time and to preserving the site’s historical past, have been working with AGORA’s support for several years now to keep these memories alive through a museum dedicated to the industrial era of Esch-Schifflange.

Alain Günther, employed at the plant from 1985 to 2013: Our museum, which has been on the site for several years now, will be the link between the new and old inhabitants of Esch-Schifflange. It is important for us to convey a part of what we have experienced here to people who choose to settle in this land, which is full of human stories and is part of Luxembourg’s industrial heritage.

Victor Merens, employed at the plant from 1961 to 2001: We have been involved right from the start in the development of the design of the Metzeschmelz quarter together with other citizens and professionals in order to shape this new quarter in a way that forms the bridge between the past, present and future.

“Metzeschmelz”, which combines modernity and proximity in complete harmony with its atypical environment, will be based primarily on architecture that blends into the history of the site with green spaces, simplified travel and improved access to transport while offering a high quality of life in the interior spaces.

Yves Biwer, AGORA Administrative Director: At the time, it was industry that attracted people to the production sites. Entire towns have sprung up around the plants. Through Metzeschmelz, we will unite these two towns with housing but also with cultural and social offerings that complement those already existing on both sides. Together with the private individuals and professionals involved, we want to create this space for living, working, education and leisure by means of a participatory process with citizens that will last several decades.

Luxembourg’s steel heritage is not over yet thanks to the excellent collaboration of AGORA and its partners to make this site a new example in terms of regeneration and renewal of the territory.

"Il était une fois" tells the history of AGORA through its events and encounters with people who have marked its history.

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