Smakkelaars Park

Located beside Utrecht Central Station, Smakkelaarsveld feels like the busiest place in the Netherlands. This site needs a counterbalance: a public place that offers commuters, locals, tourists and passersby a quiet break. Therefore, the quality of the public space was also an important criteria in the competition brief to develop the site.

Our plan envisions Smakkelaars Park as a continuous landscape elevated above the station’s public transport network. This creates varying height differences and a resulting undulating landscape above, but also unique spaces under the park. The buildings (with 150 residences and facilities) and the green spaces are interwoven to create an oasis of calm, which is open and welcoming to a wide audience.

The Eye of the Hurricane.

Smakkelaarsveld Aerial by WAX

A hybrid, urban landscape that seamlessly merges the architecture and green space.

The plan for Smakkelaars Park (re-)connects Smakkelaarsveld with the city and gives it new meaning as a neighbourhood for healthy urban living.

Our concept proposes a continuous landscape that flows across the whole site. The volumes and siting of the buildings were subsequently derived from urban lines and site simulations. This results in a characteristic mosaic that complements the surrounding urban context. By then extending the mosaic three-dimensionally, this forms an array of volumes with diverse spaces and atmospheres.

The extended Leidse Rijn canal runs beside the park, enabling water access from the network of canals and rivers in and around Utrecht. Connected by three bridges, Smakkelaars Park is thus easily accessible from all directions.

Varying height differences result in an undulating landscape above, but also unique spaces under the park. These accommodate (bicycle) parking, a small harbour and the Park Basement, a large space that hosts a changing cultural programme right in the middle of the city.

The buildings and green spaces are interwoven to create an oasis of calm, which is open and welcoming to a wide audience. A considered balance in programming and functions on the ground floor contributes to creating a safe and relaxed environment throughout the rest of the complex and in the surrounding neighbourhood.

A small cafe pavilion with a terrace will be built on one of the rooftops, as well as in the heart of the park. The area’s social/cultural plan and programme has been further developed in collaboration with a group of influential thinkers from the city.

A safe and relaxed environment.

The quality of the public space was an important criteria for the brief of the municipality’s competition to develop the site. For this project, the Smakkelaars Park team has interconnected urban design, landscape, architecture, construction and process. In the last year we engaged the municipality, residents, interested parties and critical thinkers from Utrecht in the development plans, and translated the spatial, organisational, programmatic, financial and structural ambitions into a feasible plan. Smakkelaars Park is due for completion in 2022.

Take a peek at the Smakkelaars Park website.

 

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