Skyline De Uithof

De Uithof, history of a university campus, 1980s


1983 It took until 1983 for a formal planning document ('globaal bestemmingsplan') to be approved of by the city council (May 26th). It was the first planning document ever for 'De Uithof' with legal status to be formalized. Not surprisingly residential areas were included and also not surprisingly, the university had objections to this plan and started procedures to have the plan rejected. These procedures took several years and finally in 1989 the university got its way at the 'Crown', the highest legal level.
1984 In 1984 a fresh master builder started working at 'De Uithof'. Aryan Sikkema saw the need to rethink the campus. He managed to bring in Rem Koolhaas and his Office of Metropolitan Architecture.
1985 Febr. 12th 1985, the Provincial Government formally approved of the 1983 planning document, with the exception of the residential areas. At the end of 1985 OMA was commisioned to study the future possibilities of 'De Uithof'. The bureau produced its views in the sketch 'Uithof 2000'.
1988 OMA was commisioned to develop a spatial plan for 'De Uithof'. Architect and urban developer Art Zaaijer introduced awareness on two main qualities for the area: the strenght of the old underlying park meadow landscape and the remains of the orthogonal grid of the original planning by Van der Steur. The one-liner would become 'cross or diagonal is old and straight is new'. Both qualities needed re-enforcement according to the priciples of the new plan, which meant that the underlying landscape should be kept intact and where necessary reconstructed and that the built areas were to adhere strictly to the orthogonal orientation. Within the strict border of the 'clusters' all building and paving is allowed for. The city of Utrecht was happy to accept the plan as the underlying structure for a new formal planning document that were to replace the disputed one. OMA, Art Zaaijer, was appointed supervising urban developer and still holds this position, though no longer connected to the bureau of Koolhaas. He started his own architectural firm.
1989 August, 29th 1989: document KB 89.02.0610 was published. The 1983 'bestemmingsplan' was now formally ruled invalid concerning the residential elements. Oddly, this means that for the north eastern part of 'De Uithof', building activity can only be reviewed against a 1960s outline of a planning document by the town of De Bilt. 1989 is also the year in which the Academic Hospital officially opened.
Aryan Sikkema, article NYT april 26, 2001 Uithof 2000 (1986)
Aryan Sikkemac smaal map of Uithof 2000
  © Edwin Walvisch for New York Times


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