de Architekten Cie shared with us their project, the mixed-use “Belle van Zuylen”, in Utrecht, Netherlands. The primary functions are living and working (offices), but there is also room for shopping, recreation, cafés and restaurants, and cultural activities.
The “Belle van Zuylen” building represents a metropolitan centre within the Master Plan for the Centre of Leidsche Rijn, and was approved by Utrecht City Council on January 12, 2006. The City of Utrecht is taking a daring step in deciding to realize such a high-rise development at this site. It provides an opportunity to introduce a new grammar in urban planning, in which the horizontal and vertical communicate and dovetail with one another in a wholly logical manner.
After the polders, windmills and Delta Works, this vertical urban development presents a new challenge to the Dutch tradition of landscape engineering. Public and ecological functions are naturally integrated in this project, alongside the functions of living, working and recreation.
Despite, or perhaps indeed because of, its tremendous height of 262 metres, the “Belle van Zuylen” stands for grace and elegance. She has elevated herself above the ordinary. Thanks to her novel ideas she is way ahead of her times. Belle van Zuylen (1740-1804), better known outside the Netherlands as the ground-breaking author Isabelle de Charrière, is about to write history for Utrecht, the Netherlands and the world far beyond for the second time.
The core of the concept on which the Belle van Zuylen is based lies in the combination of functions that is necessary to create a congenial and complete environment. The primary functions are living and working (offices), but there is also room for shopping, recreation, cafés and restaurants, and cultural activities. Thanks to this complete range of functions, coupled with the building’s visual impact, the Belle van Zuylen embodies Utrecht’s ambitions in every respect.
Horizontal urbanization at surface level is limited in this project, leaving much of the landscape untouched. The urban functions are vertically interlinked in a logical manner. That also applies for the nature-related and ecological functions. Terrace gardens, courtyard gardens and water features will be realized at various levels throughout the building, from the ground floor to the very summit.
client: Burgfonds, Zaltbommel
programme: housing/offices/commercial space
architect: Branimir Medić & Pero Puljiz, de Architekten Cie. Amsterdam
project team: J. Lee, W. Vreugdenhil,
structural engineer: Arup, London
date of commission: 2005
gross surface: 96.000 m2