The project for the new Harelbeke lock complex is part of the transnational project Seine-Schelde. This project connects the basin of the Seine with that of the Schelde by means of a competitive route for shipping. For the Leie, this amounts to adjusting the tonnage of the shipping way. This creates the necessity to deepen the shipping lane, to broaden a number of bends and to provide lanes for passing. Following the deepening of the Leie, the existing lock complex at Harelbeke must be rebuilt.

The project for the lock complex and also the renovation of two bridges in Harelbeke - the Hogebrug and Banmolensbrug – were put on the market by W & Z as a Design and Build tender. In this procedure, the outcome of a study by Palmbout Urban Landscapes into the renewal of Harelbeke city centre and the opportunities to fit the two bridges in, was introduced.

About the project
Besides the construction of the new lock and the construction of new bridges, the plan also covers is the design of the Moleneiland, the opening of a tourist marina and the re-construction of quays along the river Leie.
With all this, the project provides the opportunity to thoroughly rethink and redesign the linking of the city with its river. The master plan for the city of Harelbeke and the design handbook spatial quality are the guiding principles in this.

The Seine-Schelde project also provides the Leie with a program for "river restoration", consisting of ecological, landscape and recreational measures. All these interventions make this project a great opportunity to improve the spatial quality of Harelbeke as a whole.

Urban master plan
The Moleneiland is characterised by two mills. The preservation of these structures, together with the advent of the marina and a fish trap, allow a specific identity for the Moleneiland to be designed while ensuring a gradual urban development of the island. The Leie quays consist of three different areas, namely Island, Lock and Market. Depending on the area, an urban profile is proposed ranging from simple and in accordance with the different boundary conditions along the route to a fully fledged and high quality integration of the Leie in the urban fabric.

Integration and architectural design
ZJA provides the integration and architectural design of five so-called civil engineering structures.

The ensemble of works at Harelbeke - bridges and locks - has been designed from the utilitarian principle of bridging and maintaining the (height differences in) waterways. In this, careful consideration has been given to integration into the urban fabric and to user comfort. The Hogebrug serves to increase the headroom for shipping. The lock complex consists of a lock for shipping, a new weir, pumping station with mortars, machine areas and a possible temporary control building. The Banmolensbrug forms the entrance to the Moleneiland and crosses the Old Leiearm, which will be restored to full glory. Finally, a vision has been provided for a possible future integration of two movable bridges as a recreational pedestrian and bicycle connection between the right bank of the Leie, via the Moleneiland, to the left bank.

ZJA Zwarts & Jansma Architects has been commissioned with the architectural design of a lock complex in the Leie at Harelbeke (Flanders). Bureau Bas Smets is responsible for the urban master plan and landscape development of the project.

Project: 666

Photographs: WenZ