De Uithof, history of a university campus,
'De Uithof' in the early 1990s not only meant finding a way
to reorganize and restructure everything that had been built
in thirty years and allowing for additional university plans
to be added. It also meant incorporating other forms of higher
education into the area and finding a decent way to integrate
Higher education changed during the 1990s. The vocational
and training colleges expanded, merged into bigger organisations,
and found themselves in need of buiding locations for which
limited budgets were available. To accomodate this challenging
perspective, the kasbah
strip was developed.
A second major change in campusplanning concerned its residential
aspects. During the 1980s the university had fought the
city over its plans to build houses
in De Uithof. Unfortunately, housing conditions for students
were substandard in Utrecht which meant that the university
gradually became interested in allowing for a specific type
of housing in 'De Uithof': studenthousing. Especially rector
J.A. van Ginkel, as a geographer professionally specialised
in housing and urban development, strongly favoured opening
up 'De Uithof' for this purpose. (J.A.
van Ginkel was Utrecht's longest
serving rector -1986 to 1996- and has been rector of the
United Nations University from 1997.) The changed perspective
introduced a rather intricate process of studies and discussions.
Research was carried out on the feasibility of students
living in 'De Uithof', partners were sought and found that
were willing to invest in studenthousing although the university
had to provide financial guarantees in case vacancies could
not be filled and a suitable location had to be found.
||After evaluating a number of options,
a location south of the new Cambridgelaan was chosen for
the development of 1,000 studentrooms. The location was controversial
because of the vulnerabilty of the neighbouring ecological
zone ('moerasbosje' = marshland with trees). A planning document
had to be drawn to provide the housing initiative with some
sort of formal rooting. In 1993 agreement was reached on
plan' as a basis for further urban planning.
This plan was completed by a number of studies on subjects
like environmental impact and traffic and transportation.
plan koolhaas / Zaaijer' with the studies that
accompanied it were extended into a draft new 'bestemminsplan'
to provide maximum legal status, However, due to the combination
of political discontinuity, and rapidly changing perspectives,
formal approval by the city and provincial states was not
reached. In the meantime a number of new buildings were
completed and 'De Uithof' slowly developed itself to become
a showcase of modern architecture. In 1995, Mecanoo's Faculty
of Economics and Management opened its doors to become
the first example.
||The 'Educatorium' (OMA,
Koolhaas/Cornubert) was completed in 1997, filling in the
missing link between the Van
Unnikbuilding and Ruppertbuilding in a natural way.
||The Minnaertbuilding (Neutelings/Riedijk)
gave the north west area of 'De Uithof' its flagship and
in the same year the studenthousing was built (completed
||aerial picture, taken in 1999
|These digitalia are best
viewed in Century Gothic.