Programme: 145 houses and apartments, 4,500 m2 retail and commercial space, 300 underground parking spaces
We were commissioned to assist the municipality of Groningen to develop a masterplan to regenerate and revitalise the CiBoGa Terrein, a 14ha industrial site on the edge of Groningen’s city centre.
The site, situated on the location of the city’s former ramparts and historically a place of temporary activities and events, called for a design approach with public and communal spaces that could deliver both urban character and suburban qualities. And because of its location and potential role in the city’s ecological structure, we initiated and then led extensive research into new forms of housing typologies and energy use.
The masterplan is based on five organising principles: (1) to cap the polluted ground with underground parking (2) to convert existing industrial buildings for new public uses (3) to create a mix of live/work residential units (4) to support the residential accommodation with shops and collective functions (5) to create a strong, clear identity for the landscape and public spaces. Industrial buildings on the site is restored and rented out for cultural activities and the new residential accommodation is concentrated in 13 ‘schotsen’ - compact residential blocks with collective internal courtyards. Residents are encouraged to walk, to cycle and to use public transport. One underground parking space is provided for every two new dwellings.
The first phase of the masterplan, Schots 1 + 2, is a mixed-use scheme that delivers a wide range of affordable housing units for rent and for sale. The two urban blocks are 'opened up' to form a sequence of inter-connected collective 'parochial' spaces that range from courtyards and roof terraces to belvederes, courtyards and private gardens. The multi-layering of activities and landscape offers an alternative to the interiorised and hermetic world of the traditional urban block.
To create a vibrant neighbourhood centre, retail and commercial space are introduced into the project, tucked underneath a stepped ground surface. Above the retail space, housing with their own private front doors is accessed by a multi-levelled collective courtyard space that makes a seamless transition from the street to the upper levels.
Following its completion, the project was short-listed for the Mies van der Rohe Awards and it has since become a Dutch national pilot scheme for sustainable urban renewal.