MVRDV envisions green roof-topped Jaarbeurs to become Utrecht's oasis

The Netherlands-based practice and Jaarbeurs, Utrecht’s exhibition and convention centre, release a design proposal with a focus on sustainability and quality of life.

by Jincy Iype Dec 05, 2019

Dutch architectural practice MVRDV, together with Jaarbeurs (Utrecht’s exhibition, event and conference centre) has released a design proposal for a new Jaarbeurs venue with a green roof top, alongside the surrounding neighbourhood’s masterplan. Located in the Netherlands, the design pays emphasis to sustainably elevating the quality of life in the urban setting, which is presently dominated by logistics, cars and parking spaces in particular.

This announcement kickstarts the planning for the next phase of Jaarbeurs’ development. Keeping in mind the participation and consultation of local residents of Utrecht, sports clubs, entrepreneurs, and other stakeholders in the neighbourhood, the plan will be elaborated further by working closely with the municipality of Utrecht.

Winy Maas, the founding partner of MVRDV, fervently defines the proposal’s goal as a ‘garden in the city’, while CEO of Jaarbeurs, Albert Arp, labels the design as a ‘city oasis’.

  • Axonometric overview of the Jaarbeurs district (abstract)| Jaarbeurs Convention Centre | MVRDV | STIRworld
    Axonometric overview of the Jaarbeurs district (abstract) Image Credit: Courtesy of MVRDV
  • Axonometric view of the pedestrian routes in the design proposal | Jaarbeurs Convention Centre | MVRDV | STIRworld
    Axonometric view of the pedestrian routes in the design proposal Image Credit: Courtesy of MVRDV
  • City scale embedding| Jaarbeurs Convention Centre | MVRDV | STIRworld
    City scale embedding Image Credit: Courtesy of MVRDV

MVRDV was presented with a necessary and challenging question by Jaarbeurs for the design – to plan a design that is sustainable, innovative and boosts the surrounding neighbourhood in tandem. After rigorous planning for two years, both companies came up with the plan for a 120,000 sqm venue on the existing Jaarbeurs site, which lies to the west of Utrecht’s central station, forming the nucleus of a larger masterplan that covers 600,000 sqm. The proposal also plans to transform the dilapidated and under used areas at the back of the central station. 

The new convention centre will open in all directions with an accessible rooftop, descending to the ground level through cascading, flowing terraces. The green roof will also employ a park, comprising squares and gardens, offering space for events, urban nature, storage of water and generation of energy – thus the green rooftop of the Jaarbeurs venue will transform and position itself as an ‘oasis’ in the city of Utrecht.

The convention centre’s design and the greater masterplan also focuses on sustanaible strategies, and pursues the BREEAM – Excellent certification (global sustainability assessment method for masterplanning projects, infrastructure and buildings).

  • The proposed roof top park | Jaarbeurs Convention Centre | MVRDV | STIRworld
    The proposed roof top park Image Credit: Courtesy of MVRDV
  • The roof top garden collection | Jaarbeurs Convention Centre | MVRDV | STIRworld
    The roof top garden collection Image Credit: Courtesy of MVRDV

The ground floor of the venue will host functional areas spanning hospitality, offices and shops, alongside its event halls. The Jaarbeurs Boulevard, a car-free street, will go through the middle of the site, as the backbone of the neighbourhood, providing direct access to the venue. This street will also become a main road, which will connect the central station to other immediate areas such as the Merwede Canal. The Canal is also part of the masterplan, and is touted to be transformed into a vibrant waterfront area, complete with terraces and restaurants, where visitors and Utrecht’s inhabitants can enjoy a drink under the sun.  

  • Step by step stages of the design development | Jaarbeurs Convention Centre | MVRDV | STIRworld
    Step by step stages of the design development Image Credit: Courtesy of MVRDV
  • The different areas and stages of design proposal| Jaarbeurs Convention Centre | MVRDV | STIRworld
    The different areas and stages of design proposal Image Credit: Courtesy of MVRDV

“It is rare that a private party not only invests in its own building, but also includes the environment in its plans,” says Maas. “This master plan shows that Jaarbeurs is passionate about the city and dares to think outside the box. This is desperately needed, because this underutilised area has the potential to become a fantastic neighbourhood with the venue as its core – an attractive green ‘hill’ in the city. The plan is also an opportunity to significantly improve the city and properly connect the centre, the station area, the Merwede Canal zone, and the Kanaleneiland,” he added.

Jaarbeurs district’s masterplan has been developed in cooperation with SITE Urban Development and the construction is expected to begin in 2023.

The different areas and stages of design proposal| Jaarbeurs Convention Centre | MVRDV | STIRworld
Street Section (before and after) Image Credit: Courtesy of MVRDV

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About Author

Jincy Iype

Jincy Iype

Iype is a trained architect, who often indulges in writing and amateur photography. She was a cinephile and a melophile even before she knew what those words meant. She is inclined towards architecture journalism, and can usually be found curled up reading a book, or cooking for therapeutic relief.

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