Utrecht Leidsche Rijn is getting a new cultural heart: Berlijnplein, a vibrant square that will accommodate 50 organizations active in art, education and technology. With its theatres, exhibition spaces, cafés and workshops, it will become a place of local and national interest.
INBO designed the new square together with Bureau SLA, Overtreders W, Woonpioniers and Boom Landscape.
With and for culture makers
Berlijnplein is the place to be for culture lovers, as well as for the neighbourhood as a whole. It’s a place to sit, play or organize events. Indoors and outdoors. The square will belong to the culture makers who have their permanent location there, as well as to the public and local residents. That’s why we’re designing Berlijnplein together with and for culture makers and local residents. During participation sessions, we look at what we really need. We discuss how the square will work, how people will walk from the theatre to the coffee shop and whether the dance school is in the right place to facilitate outdoor performances. This brings the square to life in the present and ensures that it will continue to belong to all of its users in the future.
The design centres on a so-called ‘mediator’: a constructive object that is found on, through and in all of the different buildings. Time is an important theme in this regard: the object gets to live different lives, but everything on and around it changes over time. This makes the square relevant now, and the whole complex flexible and ready for different kinds of use in the future.
In addition, the mediator provides the project with a shared identity and recognizability. It’s the logo and connects all of the buildings. Individual users can choose to make the mediator visible in their buildings, for example by including it in an exhibition space. In other places, it only has a constructive function. Flexible walls allow spaces to be rearranged as needed.
City of Utrecht
Consortium PleinR: Vink Bouw, Studio R, bureau SLA, Overtreders W, Woonpioniers, BOOM Landscape, BLOC, Adviesbureau DWA, Pieters Bouwtechniek, Koen Koch, New Horizon Urban Mining
Participate in team of architects; facilitate co-creation