De Uithof, history of a university campus,
2000 and after
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
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development plan) gets outdated before it is finalized.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.
||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.
||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.
||A major contribution to the kasbah strip
is realised by the contruction of the new university
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.
||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
and Salman design a
major project (550 rooms) around the
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.
||'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.
||Studenthousing at 'De Bisschoppen'
|These digitalia are best
viewed in Century Gothic.