Skyline De Uithof
 


De Uithof, history of a university campus, 2000 and after

 


2000 During the first years of the 21st century the principles of the plan 'Koolhaas / Zaaijer' were executed with great care. In 2001, the Bloembergenbuilding (Studio UN / Van Berkel & Bos), a little architectural gem is carefully positioned near the Kruytbuilding.
Disappointingly, the 1995 draft 'bestemmingsplan' (urban development plan) gets outdated before it is finalized. Representatives of the university and the urban development bureau of the city try to update the urban development plan. Unfortunately, a new controversy shows up. The city tries to redefine the older agreements on the use of 'De Uithof' in such a way that it may benefit financially as soon as the university allows others to develop real estate in the area. The university strictly adheres to the principle that other parties are only allowed into 'De Uithof' on the basis of a formal cooperation in research or teaching and that no profits are made on the grounds. In fact, on most occasions, the university subsidized others by letting them using the grounds for free. In June 2000 a pre draft of a new 'bestemmingspan' is available, but it gets gets buried without proper discussion.
2002 In 2002 a building designed by Hoogstad is added to the north west area of 'De Uithof'; it is used by the research institution TNO.
2003 In 2003 a small but significant addition to 'De Uithof' is completed, grand café 'The Basket' by NL Architects (Walter van Dijk) embodies the understanding that new features are necessary to transform 'De Uithof' into in true campus. The Basket combines the social aspects of a pub/restaurant with a recreational facility (basketball pitch) on its roof. The bar is sunken into the ground which allows for the appropriate hight for a grand café and offers a different perspective on the public space outside. The bar draws of lot of international attention and receives a numer of awards.
Aryan Sikkema took the initiative to re-start the process of creating a formal planning document from scratch. A great number of city stakeholders and university representatives were brought together to discuss the future of 'De Uithof', resulting in the working paper 'De Uithof' (available in Dutch at the website of the city of Utrecht) to be discussed in the city council in July 2003. The major elements: introducing more possibilities for student housing and allowing for science park development.
2004 A major contribution to the kasbah strip is realised by the contruction of the new university library, designed by Wiel Arets. Though plans for the moving of the library to 'De Uithof' go back to the late 1950s, it is only in 2004 that the library, designed as an all black building, occupies the most prominent location in 'De Uithof'. By now many of the first generation Uithof buildings end their lifecycle. Major renovations become necessary, asbestos has to be removed, new safety regulations enforce costly measures to be taken. For the university, this means that financial aspects of the corporate real estate more and more becomes a key factor. A long term real estate plan is developed. Major renovations are started on the veterinary university clinics.
2005 The Dutch system of higher education changed due to the Bologna process and the former vocational and training colleges developed into universities of applied science. In 'De Uithof', the partner 'Hogeschool Utrecht' started building a fifth faculty (Education, architect: Joost Ector) to complete the kasbah strip to the west. The housing corporation SSHU developed a new concept 'spacebox' as a temporal housing facility for 233 students and had the architects Köther and Salman design a major project (550 rooms) around the historic 'Bisschopssteeg'.
The university celebrated the arrival of another architectural highlight: a power station designed by Liesbeth van der Pol, opened at the end of 2005.
In October 2005, the working paper 'De Uithof' progressed into a document called 'Vision De Uithof' (available in Dutch at the website of the city of Utrecht, version November 9, 2005). Traditionally there are differences of opninion between city government and the university board. This time the university wanted to anticipate on the expansion of the Science Park in the north of 'De Uithof' and allowing for growth at the north side of the Leuvenlaan as well, whereas the city limited the planning horizon to the development of just the northern area.
2006 'Vision De Uithof' is discussed in the city council comittee for urban planning on February 1st, 2006 and in the summer of 2006 the document is published for public consultation. Various reactions were processed and the document (version November 2006) is input for the formal decision making process.
 
The Basket Studenthousing at 'De Bisschoppen'
   

 

These digitalia are best viewed in Century Gothic.
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