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            Cargill Herent

            Noise barrier near Cargill Herent integrated into landscape

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            Cargill Herent is in a quiet rural environment near Leuven in Belgium. The sound produced by the production process, involving the conversion of barley into malt, had to be reduced in various ways. Merford had installed various silencers in previous years. The second part of the sound-reduction measures was to design and install a noise barrier.

            The project consisted of the excavation work, the foundations, the steel structure, the acoustic panels, the doors and an electric acoustic sectional gate. Merford accepted the challenge with no hesitation and successfully completed the project together with its partners. The result is outstanding. The total length of this colourful barrier is almost 60 metres. It is 8 metres tall. The prefab concrete foundation consists of blocks measuring 4 by 1.5 metres. All of this was laid out to the centimetre by a surveyor. To make sure the sound barrier fitted in with the surrounding landscape as well as possible, a colour study of the structure was completed and a green screen was designed. This proposal was the result of a thorough study into design, colour and plants in the context of the landscape.

            It was decided to create a graphic artwork with wavy warm colour tints that blend at the top with the silos in the landscape and gradually change to earth colours at the bottom that merge with the surrounding landscape. This way, the standard grey barrier is transformed into a lively and subtle barrier that is perfectly integrated into the landscape. The green landscaping screen with shrubs and bushes camouflages two-thirds of the sound barrier's height. Only the top of the barrier sometimes playfully stands out above the landscaping. The visibility of the acoustic barrier will depend on the season. It will be combined with an ecological green landscaped wall consisting of various species of bird-friendly shrubs. These species are found in the surrounding environment. A range of bird-friendly shrubs will be planted in three rows, including holly, hazel, mountain ash, hawthorn, briar and blackthorn. All of these will also be planted in the border zone of the future buffer forest. Each one of these species has its own flowering and seasonal peak so that the image projected by the wall will change through the year; sometimes colourful with berries and flowers, and sometimes beautiful autumn colours and evergreens. The green landscaping screen will contribute to the biodiversity of the surroundings.