Two unique residential towers will revitalise the area around Utrecht station in the Netherlands providing key workers with affordable housing
The Healthy Urban Quarter on the Jaarbeursboulevard in the neighbourhood of Utrecht Station in the Netherlands is to be developed by the consortium of G&S Vastgoed and Kondor Wessels Projecten. The consortium won the city council’s tender with its Wonderwoods plan. The plan addresses the ambitions of Utrecht city council to create a healthy urban lifestyle. The concept is Happiness 2.0 and focuses on bringing nature back into the city to achieve a healthier quality of life. On behalf of the consortium, architecture offices Stefano Boeri Architetti and MVSA Architects signed up for the plan. The plan also includes Playlab, a public function that provides experiences for all ages at the cutting edge of technology (virtual reality and 3D) and visual arts. The plan is now being further elaborated.
Alderman Victor Everhardt (station neighbourhood) said: "The Wonderwoods plan is an asset to the city. We will gain two unique residential towers that will embody the green, healthy and sustainable urbanization that we want to see in Utrecht, setting the tone for the new Beurskwartier.”
Two towers, one building
The Wonderwoods plan comprises two towers, 90m and 70m in height, that will be used for living, working, relaxing and entertainment. The highest tower is on the Croeselaan. This resembles a vertical forest, with the planting on the balconies and on the façade an intrinsic part of the design. Stefano Boeri Architetti and Arcadis will execute this part of the plan in consultation with Utrecht University’s Botanical Gardens. The tower of MVSA Architects on the Kinepolis cinema side has pleasing curves and abundant greenery inside. This can be seen from the outside because the atria open up to allow views into the building.
Wonderwoods presents attractive and accessible views from all sides, and the building fits in well with the rest of the area. On the one hand, it is robust, like the main office buildings in the area, and on the other its level of detail is designed to add aesthetic value at street level. The scheme forms a perfect transition between the station area and the future Beurskwartier.
Living, working, Playlab
Wonderwoods will include homes to buy or rent for various target groups, including housing for people working in the public sector and studio homes. In addition there are spaces for offices, health-oriented hospitality, fitness and yoga, small-scale retail, education, indoor bicycle parking, a small parking garage and the public function Playlab. Offering experiences for young and old at the cutting edge of technology (virtual reality and 3D) and visual arts, it is new in Utrecht.
From tender to first pile
In October 2016, the City of Utrecht announced its ambitions for the Healthy Urban Quarter at the Expo Real in Munich. Of the 20 consortia which submitted a vision, the city council chose four to develop their visions into plans. Last May, the four consortia submitted their schemes. The city council has now fully assessed the four plans and chosen the best one. A contract will shortly be agreed with the winning consortium of G&S Vastgoed and Kondor Wessels Projecten, specifying exclusivity and elaborating the plan into a final design. After that, construction can begin. Taking into account the necessary preparations and planning procedures, the first pile will be driven in 2019, with Wonderwoods ready for occupation in 2022.
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