The city of Enschede has won the Golden Pyramid award 2007 for “inspiring contractorship.” The jury revealed yesterday that the municipality and architect Pi de Bruijn won the award for the way they handled the rebuilding of Roombeek, the neighbourhood just outside the city centre that was largely destroyed when a fireworks factory exploded in 2000, killing 23 and wounding 950. An area of 63 hectares (155 acres) was destroyed, and a new neighbourhood was planned on top of the old road map. Interestingly, residents were very much involved in deciding how they would like the neighborhood to look like, compared to the prevailing Dutch mentality that even beauty must be regulated. De Bruijn could not completely give up the idea of regulation and stipulated that houses along Museum Lane should be designed by well-known architects.
The result looks surprisingly lived-in. A number of buildings that were still usable were kept to increase that effect. The subscribers of the Skyscraper City forums have been following the developments with their digital cameras since 2004, giving a good sense of a developing neighbourhood. Dutch broadcaster AVRO followed the jury of the Golden Pyramid award during their judging, and has produced a 25 minute program about the Roombeek project.