Smakkelaarspark
Utrecht

  • Date: Summer 2018, completion 2022
  • Location: Utrecht, the Netherlands
  • Status: Selected for realisation
  • Client: Lingotto
  • In collaboration with: Lingotto, Studioninedots, Arup, VKZ

Team Smakkelaarspark won the tender for the Smakkelaarsveld next to Utrecht’s Centraal Station (CS). Lingotto, Arup, Studioninedots, VKZ and ZUS joined forces and designed a hybrid, urban landscape, where buildings and park spaces merge. Smakkelaarspark will become a calming urban landscape in the eye of the hurricane of Utrecht’s infrastructure.

The Smakkelaarsveld, with 170,000 passengers at Utrecht CS and 25,000 cyclists per day, is easily the busiest place in the Netherlands. The buses, trains, trams, cars, bicycles, walkers generate a hurricane of movement, sound and dynamism. Which is why this place deserves a counterpoint – a public place that decelerates the traveller, the Utrechter, the tourist, and the passer-by. The municipality of Utrecht set the competition for the 22,000 m2 of housing and facilities, the criteria for which stressed improving the quality of the public space.

The Smakkelaarspark runs like a continuous landscape over the entire plot. By using the existing differences in height, from the waterfront to the top of the rapid-transit bus line, a succession of green space is created. The green continues on the roofs and even up some walls. In the Smakkelaarspark, residential buildings and park spaces are so intertwined it provides an oasis of comfort without compromising public access. The ground-floor units’ balance of program and function make the surrounding area, at all levels, a safe and relaxed destination. Together with a group of Utrecht tastemakers, the plan and the program for the Smakkelaarspark are further enriched socio-culturally.

The plan’s wedge-shaped structure derives from the situational context lines and the existing road network. In this way, a characteristic mosaic is created that entirely engages the context. Reshaping this mosaic in a three-dimensional form gives rise to spatial formations offering a broad diversity of places and atmospheres. Here, inside and outside, landscape and building, park and program are completely entwined to create a hybrid typology. Smart variances in building heights and volumes create tranquil places in a dynamic environment. In line with the spatial comfort and challenged by the proximity to the public transport hub and rapid transit line, the Smakkelaarspark also becomes low-noise.

With a fully-integrated plan, Lingotto, Arup, Studioninedots, VKZ and ZUS have melded landscape, urban design, architecture, construction and process. In the past year, Team Smakkelaarspark has involved the municipality, residents, interested parties, and critical Utrecht thinkers, in elaborating the ambitions – spatial, organisational, programmatic, financial, and construction – and plan development.