Design research to the restoration of 19th century mansions and their urban siting
The Glaudé Mansions and a monumental former tea cupula are part of a narrow plot between Hereweg, a traffic artery to the provincial highway, and the station area. The viaduct and the station have been subject of extensive study. The design task was to research how this site with its historic relics could be made part of this dynamic.
The front houses of the Glaudé Mansions at the Groningen Hereweg are restored. Departing from the typology of the mansions it is possible to replace the back houses by higher volumes. The former central corridor becomes a hall for two houses. All newly formed dwellings have a historic front room and a modern new back house. The low ground floor keeps its own entrance. The stately steps to the first floor are connected to the concrete viaduct. This enhances combinations of different types of use within the house. These are houses with two doors. One can expect these ground floor spaces to be used informally, for instance for lodgers or for in house workspace. It is a challenge to solve individual requirements within this setup.
The corner building at Hereweg will be demolished resulting in the restoration of the free position of the former tea cupola. The historic estate remains part of the characteristic entrance boulevard to Groningen city center which is established by Hereweg. The extensions of the Glaudé Mansions provide a scale jump which fits the ensemble into the large-scale dynamic of the station district.
It is necessary to re-position the Glaudé Mansions urbanistically. This happens by making it part of a triangular urban block which follows the outline of the vanished bulwarks. It may be considered to develop the new build and the restoration in different speeds. The first may be developed institutionally, the other parts may profit from the development by small investors or private owners. A mixture of ‘big money’ and ‘small money’ can be imagined.
In this proposal monument have not been taken as passive heritage. On the contrary: old buildings are active in the city and challenge solution in the here and now. Old buildings shape the city.