Mecanoo, along with collaborating firms of the 'Blue District' consortium, has recently been selected to be in charge of the urban, architectural, and landscape design of the new Cartesiusdriehoek district in the Dutch city of Utrecht.
The winning proposal aims to not only transform the former freight railway yard into a new, vibrant residential neighborhood complete with 2,600 homes, parks, school, supermarket, dining options, as well as a number of other facilities, but, according to the project description, even declares the district the "Netherlands' first urban Blue Zone"—hoping to promote physical and mental health of its residents through design and thus emulate conditions that can be found in five so-called blue zones around the world where people live surprisingly long and healthy lives.
You be the judge.
"The former business park of the Dutch Railways is set to become the most healthy, well-connected to public transport and bicycle-friendly neighbourhood in the Netherlands," explains the consortium's project description. "The development is based on the ‘Koersdocument’ that was jointly drawn up by the Dutch Railways and the Municipality of Utrecht and unanimously adopted by the municipal council. The selection of the winning team was based on both the quality of the plans and on the fee. The design builds on the ambitions of the Dutch Railways and the Municipality of Utrecht to create an environment that would allow residents to enjoy a healthy life."
"The Cartesiusdriehoek will become a lively urban neighbourhood with abundant greenery. All urban amenities will be easily accessible; walking and cycling will be the main modes of transport. Emphasis has been placed on sustainability, innovative energy solutions and sustainable (shared) mobility. The neighbourhood offers a variety of housing typologies for diverse target groups, with about a quarter of the units intended for rental social housing. The project will be realized in multiple phases in the coming years, and construction is expected to begin in 2020."
"Eye-catcher and epicentre of the neighbourhood will be the historic CAB building, which will include space for the dB sound studio, the Oproer Brewery and the new CABLAB. In the CABLAB, the winning team will closely collaborate with four Dutch universities, insurance company ONVZ and other users to further develop the concept. Local residents and other stakeholders will also be approached to participate in the upcoming developments.
In addition to MRP Development and Nedam Development, the winning team
consists of CBRE Global Investors’ Dutch Residential Fund, Portaal for
the social dwellings, Mecanoo, Meyer Bergman Erfgoed Programmering and
Hylkema, We Drive Solar, Urban Sync, Over Morgen, Antea, RROG, Rebel and
C Concept Design. Fakton guided the tender procedure for the Dutch
Railways. The jury consisted of representatives of the Municipality of
Utrecht and of the Dutch Railways."
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