In UNStudio’s vision, the future of the Smakkelaarsveld is a flexible, multifunctional area that can accommodate the future challenges for Utrecht in a layered way. It is designed as a microstructure of spaces and places, where programmes are stacked for a multitude of functions and uses. This approach embraces the complexity of a park in the modern city and transforms it into a vibrant and generous place.
As a result of a balanced mix of living with work, social and shared facilities - alongside the addition to the commuter flows over the Smakkelaarpark - a sustainable mini-ecosystem ensures that the area will remain lively and valuable now and in the future. To ensure that Smakkelaarsveld is a desirable place to be for existing and new residents, as well as passers-by, it is advisable to add qualitative supplementary programmes to the primary programme of housing, such as café, exhibition areas or workspaces.
Large shared roof terraces offer further room for social interaction for the residential community. The roof gardens provide a variety of activities, such as collective gardening and an aquaponics greenhouse, while the gardens can be fertilized from a shared composting machine.
The physical health of the residents is stimulated by the spacious centrally positioned landscape staircases that already form the banks of the Leidse Rijn. In the interior of the residential building, the stairwells are all prominently positioned, with daylight flowing in from the courtyard. This form of 'active design' prioritises the healthy vertical circulation spaces, instead of the lift. Other publicly accessible areas include a café where a healthy lunch can be enjoyed, the sports club and of course the city park. All of these are places that enable social interaction. In terms of programming, the interaction between the building and the park is of great importance. For example, the sports club's fitness programme extends to outdoor activities in the park, such as bootcamp, yoga and running.
UNStudio: Ben van Berkel with Arjan Dingsté, Marianthi Tatari and Ariane Stracke, Bruno Peris, Bogdan Chipara, Piotr Kluszcynski, Milou van Min, Xinyu Wang, Ryan Henriksen, Mahmoud Meligy, Shangzi Tu, Patrik Noome.