Utrecht (NL), 2020
December 9, 2019 | Awards
Het Platform nominated for Roof of the Year 2019
Het Platform in Utrecht is a mixed-use community building for living, working and playing. The building has been designed as a MicroCity; thanks to a mix of complementary functions and a prime location near a public transport hub, it aims to be mostly autarkic.
MicroCity is an innovative concept for buildings and neighborhoods. By offering a mix of complementary functions it creates opportunities to enhance the post-carbon circular economy. By also reducing mobility needs, the MicroCity concept contributes strongly to cities at large becoming truly sustainable.
Het Platform is constructed on top of the Uithoflijn tram and bus terminal, directly adjacent to the station’s square. It interacts in such a natural way with surrounding buildings in the area, that it almost seems the building ‘grew’ into its place. The component parts of Het Platform are situated and stacked in a way that generates a variety of attractive public and collective outdoor spaces for the station area. One can find an orchard, a semi-open court, a super loggia, a semi-public passage and an ‘urban living room’, the sheltered space under the large cantilever of the 8th floor.
Het Platform is like a natural landscape within the city. With its green facades and four different roof gardens supplied with a wide variety of plants and trees, the building enriches biodiversity in the city. The roof gardens are essential components of the building program. These gardens offer fantastic views over the station area and the historical city center. Residents and visitors can feel both at home and part of the vibrant city of Utrecht. At this scale, it is probably the first nature-inclusive residential building in the Netherlands that has been realized.
Each apartment has different views towards the city and outdoor spaces in and around this complex. The various terraces and gardens are easily accessible via corridors, stairways and connecting bridges. The layered facade with a composition of sliding windows, balconies, terraces and greenery, invites residents to enjoy all opportunities of outdoor-living. Passers-by are also invited to enjoy these spaces. A public route runs straight through the building up to the station square. A monumental indoor passage halfway gives access to the ‘urban living room’.
As Het Platform is constructed on top of the new Uithoflijn station, the total program of more than 18,000 m2 has a minimum footprint of only 170 m2 at ground level. To solve the many engineering challenges an ingenious custom-made lightweight steel construction with 3D trusses was developed. In addition to a residential program of 200 rental homes for starters, the building accommodates collective facilities such as a restaurant, commercial spaces, a bicycle parking and many “sticky spaces” for social encounters.Related News & Media
Nature InclusiveWhen the Municipality of Utrecht decided on a new building at the eastern end of the Central Station area, it wanted the new project to contribute to a healthy urban life in this stony environment. Het Platform won the commission in 2015 with a comprehensive, holistic design concept by VenhoevenCS.
One of the features of the design concept was to create the building as a green “springboard” for plants, animals and people, from the city centre green belt to the other side of the train tracks, where the municipality is also striving for high nature-inclusive ambitions. The Platform thus makes abundant use of roof gardens, terraces and balcony boxes. These are not only intended for users of The Platform, but also provide an attractive view for users and residents of the buildings around it.
VenhoevenCS invited Bram Breedveld (landscape architect and co-founder of Landlab) for the garden designs. His planting concept is derived from the vegetation in the various landscapes of the Utrecht Province, with distinct vegetation on the different floors of the building: plants inspired by allotment gardens on the 1st floor, estate forest undergrowth on the 3rd floor, orchard meadows on the 6th and a hillside pine forest on the 8th floor. The plant species are very diverse and specially mixed to ensure optimum conditions for attracting insects. The extent to which birds will feel safe enough to reproduce here, is difficult to predict, but there is certainly enough food. Download PDF
Building over tracks‘Building over rail lines’ is a topical theme: In 2019 the Dutch Railway company (NS) and 4 major cities in the Netherlands signed an agreement to further investigate the possibilities. Technology and financial feasibility are no longer serious obstacles; In fact constructing above tracks actually offers opportunities. For example, creating a solution for the current housing shortage. Who doesn’t want to live and work in the heart of the city, close to public transport and all other facilities?
For VenhoevenCS, building on and near stations has long been a focus point. The many studies into high-density development around stations, also known as transit oriented development, and various designs of autarkic Microcities illustrate this. As a government advisor on infrastructure, Ton Venhoeven advised on many projects regarding sustainable infrastructure and mobility networks.
Het Platform, a perfect example of a building that was literally built on top of a station, will soon be completed. Multiple use of space was an important exponent of the integral sustainability strategy within this project. In addition to more than 200 apartments, the building includes facilities such as a restaurant, fitness, common bicycle parking and communal roof terraces. The realization of Het Platform fits within the vision of VenhoevenCS that the stimulation of public transport and pedestrian and bicycle traffic can contribute to a healthier living environment in the city. Download PDF