state: A

Vijvers Bellefroid

Future vision for nature domain ‘The ponds of Bellefroid’ in Leuven

‘The ponds of Bellefroid’ form an artificial piece of nature of 21 ha around two old shallow fish breeding ponds, near Leuven. Since early 2020, these ponds belong to the city of Leuven, which wants to open the area as a nature preserve.

The starting point of the design is not to occupy the area as man but to give it back to nature. We build first and foremost for nature, subordinating human needs to natural elements and making human intervention a positive tipping point for the biotope rather than a degradation of it.

The design consists of a landscape observation point or fauna fort, a simple six-meter-high geometric volume constructed with rocky blocks from local sediments of different porosity and composition. Through this variation, we are creating a new habitat for plants and animals with breeding, shelter and nesting areas for birds and insects.

The outside of the fort will slowly weather and increasingly become nature. Erosion is a key player in creating great biodiversity. On the inside, which is publicly accessible, a durable retaining wall ensures that the earth layers do not erode. Situated here is a water garden, a lookout point and a bird hut that provide shelter and ensure that humans can be a non-disruptive guest in the area.

  • client City of Leuven
  • location Leuven
  • date 2022 - current
  • status preliminary design
  • icw Overlant landschapsarchitecten
  • engineering office MIECO-effect, FRANCE ingenieursbureau, PLOT ruimtelijk management, Kenniscentrum TUIN+, Mouton, Timothy de Backer (geologist)