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MVRDV designs green-roof-topped convention centre in Utrecht
Netherlands Architecture News - Dec 4, 2019 - 15:40 3575 views
MVRDV has unveiled plans for a new "green oasis" in Utrecht, in the Netherlands. A vast masterplan, focusing on sustainability and quality of life, will represent a major change for an area currently dominated by logistics, cars, and parking spaces. The project is led by MVRDV founding partner Winy Maas, who is also the founder of The Why Factory.
The studio, alongside Utrecht’s exhibition, event, and conference centre Jaarbeurs, has released the design for a new, green-roof-topped Jaarbeurs venue, along with a masterplan for the surrounding neighbourhood.
The proposed rooftop park will be a garden in the city, transforming the under-utilised area at the rear of the station.
Maas described the project as "a garden in the city", and Jaarbeurs CEO Albert Arp calling the proposal a "city oasis". Jaarbeurs came to MVRDV with a challenging question: how do you design a green, sustainable, and innovative venue while giving the surrounding neighbourhood an important boost?
After a two-year process, the two companies are now launching their plan for a 120,000-square-metre venue on the existing Jaarbeurs site to the west of Utrecht’s central station, forming the beating heart of a larger 600,000-square-metre masterplan to transform the under-utilised area at the station’s rear.
The new Jaarbeurs will be a sustainable building that opens in all directions, with an accessible green roof that will descend to ground level via cascading terraces.
On this green roof, a rooftop park is proposed, where it is hoped that a carpet of programmable 'squares' and gardens will offer space for urban nature, events, recreation, water storage, and energy generation. The rooftop of the new Jaarbeurs thus becomes an oasis in the city.
The masterplan, alongside its event halls, also shows the ground floor of Jaarbeurs hosting functions such as hospitality, shops, and offices. A car-free street, the "Jaarbeurs Boulevard", cuts through the site, serving as the neighbourhood’s backbone.
This boulevard will not only provide access to the Jaarbeurs venue, but also form a key route connecting the station to the areas beyond, including the Merwede Canal, which will be transformed into a vibrant waterfront area with restaurants and terraces. Here, residents of Utrecht, visitors to the Jaarbeurs, and tourists visiting the city will be able to enjoy a drink in the sun. Complementing this focus on quality of life is the project’s sustainability strategy, with the design pursuing BREEAM-Excellent certification.
City scale embedding
"It is rare that a private party not only invests in its own building, but also includes the environment in its plans," said Winy Maas.
"This master plan shows that Jaarbeurs is passionate about the city and dares to think outside the box. This is desperately needed, because this underutilized area has the potential to become a fantastic neighbourhood with the venue as its core – an attractive green ‘hill’ in the city."
"The plan is also an opportunity to significantly improve the city and properly connect the centre, the station area, the Merwede Canal zone, and the Kanaleneiland," Maas added.
Jaarbeurs rooftop garden collection.
The announcement of the plans begins the next phase in the development of Jaarbeurs. Working with the municipality of Utrecht, the plan will now be elaborated, with the inclusion of a participatory process consulting local residents, sports clubs, entrepreneurs, and other stakeholders in the neighbourhood.
Overview axonometric Jaarbeursdistrict abstract
Section before and after
Step story composite-1
Step story composite-2
The construction of Jaarbeurs exhibition, event, and conference centre is expected to start in 2023. The masterplan for the Jaarbeurs district is developed in cooperation with SITE Urban Development.
All images © MVRDV
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