Mercado Groningen: Urban Marvel by De Zwarte Hond

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Project Highlights

Client: Developers MWPO and Beauvast
Location: Rode Weeshuisstraat/Stalplein Groningen
Architect: Architect ural collaboration of De Zwarte Hond and Loer Architecten
Contractor: Plegt-Vos Noord
Structural Engineer: Dijkhuis
Installation Consultant: ABT Wassenaar
Building Physic Consultant: Noorman Bouw- en milieu advies
Installations: Aalbers Dijkhuis ingenieurs
Size: 8,400 sqm GFA (commercial: 2,105 sqm, residential: 6,332 sqm)
Program: 41 luxury apartments and penthouses, restaurants, and parking

Revitalizing the City Center’s North Side

The completion of Mercado and the redevelopment of Rode Weeshuisstraat mark a significant enhancement for Groningen city center’s north side. De Zwarte Hond, in collaboration with Loer Architecten, has brilliantly designed Mercado, bringing a fresh urban perspective to the area. The project, commissioned by developers MWPO and Beauvast, not only replaces a former V&D department-store warehouse but also introduces a new city square, emphasizing pedestrian-centric spaces.

Scale and Integration

In the urban development plan, Rode Weeshuisstraat transforms from the back of Grote Markt to the front of the city center’s north side. Mercado, acting as a link between Grote Markt and Rode Weeshuisstraat, skillfully combines varying scales in its stepped volume. The building seamlessly integrates into the city center’s scale while establishing its unique identity.

Craft and Character in Ceramic Facade

The facade of Mercado is a masterpiece crafted from ceramic elements, a collaboration between De Zwarte Hond, Loer Architecten, NBK, and Bijlbouw. The blue-green glaze, carefully selected through samples and mock-ups, adapts to different weather conditions, adding an artistic touch reminiscent of Groningen’s historical richness and post-war architecture. Mercado’s beige clay and semi-transparent glaze harmonize with both pastel Weeshuis and post-war block materials.

Flexibility, Sustainability, and Nature-Inclusivity

Mercado doesn’t just stand out for its aesthetics; it’s a beacon of sustainability. The ground floor’s flexible configuration for public events and the future-proofing through a thermal energy system showcase its commitment to adaptability. The vertical garden with 3,800 plants, climbing plants on balconies, and rooftop terraces contribute to biodiversity, creating a green oasis in the heart of the city. The natural gas-free building, equipped with heat pumps and a computerized watering system, exemplifies a harmonious blend of urban living and environmental consciousness.

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A Successful Transformation

In just five years, Rode Weeshuisstraat has evolved from a dark side street into a vibrant meeting place. Frank Loer and Henk Stadens, the architects behind this transformative project, express their satisfaction, stating, “The urban plan gives the city center’s north side the sophistication it deserves. Mercado and the redesigned Rode Weeshuisstraat add an exceptional quality to the center of Groningen, giving it the boost it needs.”

Mercado in Groningen stands not only as a symbol of architectural prowess but as a testament to the potential of urban revitalization when craft, sustainability, and nature-inclusivity converge.

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