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Cartesius Quarter

Mixed-use urban district, Utrecht [NL]

The Cartesius quarter is bounded by the railway lines to Amsterdam and The Hague and enclosed by the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal as a triangle. Where the Stadsbuitengracht, as a canal and former defense structure, frames the city center of Utrecht, the tracks, together with the slope and the canal, form the defense work of the Cartesius quarter. The sheltered location between the tracks offers the unique opportunity to create a personal environment: a surprising enclave in the city.

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This creates a coherent high urban living environment with a stubborn and inventive character. A character that is a continuation of an industrial past in which seclusion has always ensured an independent place in the city. First as a noisy railway workshop and then as a quiet business park. With the rediscovery of this hidden potential, a unique transformation area is located just steps away from the inner city.

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Neighborhoods

The cozy, intimate courtyards and inner gardens of the Utrecht city center are the urban inspiration to break up the inner worlds in Cartess to a smaller grain size. Within the construction fields there is a series of neighborhoods with a system of alleyways, lanes, collective courtyards and inner gardens. With encounters and spontaneous or planned collective activities as a supporting theme. The result is an area with many slow-traffic routes and bright places, where, for example, you can play. At the same time these places ensure a pleasant collectivity, you feel at home because you are part of a neighborhood.

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Cartesiuspark 

The different neighborhoods are interconnected by the Cartesiuspark. This car-free green heart offers all the freedom to relax, play and invites to meet. The Cartesiuspark has three atmospheres with a Utrecht character: the Square, the Park and the Court. This combination of different places creates a distinct and lively inner area. Within these three spheres there are three public anchor points: the CAB building on the square, the pond in the Park and the food pavilion in the Court.

The park is visually extended into the surrounding neighborhoods, which increases the experience. In turn, neighborhoods derive their identity from the different spheres of the Cartesius Park. The transitions between the residences, collective courtyards and the Cartesiuspark have been carefully designed with differences in height and diversity in material types. Physically, the transition is subtle, but clearly marked in management.

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Green urban loop

The urban loop forms the green belt around Cartess and is at the same time the connection with the surrounding city. The urban loop establishes – as an important access zone – the link with the environment. The bicycle tunnel under the railway continues this and via the urban loop you will pass an attractive square space that connects the CAB building and station Zuilen. The terrace zones at the front of the buildings along the urban loop provide space for informal use. In addition to the logistics function, the urban loop is a versatile and green 3D sports park. It also functions as a temporary and changing climate landscape. The deepened sports fields are connected to temporary watercourses, sometimes as shallow gutters in the promenade and sometimes as water channels in the green dike. Together they form a buffer during heavy rainfall. Then a stream of water forms in the gutters and the sport fields change into temporary water collection.

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Materialization

The materialization of the landscape supports both diversity and cohesion between the different spaces. In the park and gardens, a collection of warm and tactile materials, generous flowering vegetation and characteristic native trees unites the monumental square, scenic park and organically formed court. The materialization of the linear sports park deviates from the inner park, robust pavement is combined with big gestures in topography, large planters and monumental tree lanes.

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Year

2017

Location

Utrecht, The Netherlands

Type

Masterplan

Client

Aalberts
AM
Blauwhoed
BOEi

Size

15 ha

Team & partners

Michiel Van Driessche
Marnix Vink
Deborah Lambert
Steven Broekhof
Mariya Protsyk
Zofia Krzykawska
Ilva Mishtaku
Fanny Genti
Klaudio Ruci
Elan Redekop van der Meulen
Robert-Jan van der Linden
Yuying Shen
Iris van der Walle
Jvantspijker & partners
Barcode Architects
Fabrications
Next Architects
Plein06

List
  1. Design Guide Public Space, Groningen
  2. Eemsdelta Campus
  3. Hondsrug Park Amsterdam
  4. Railroad Zone Amsterdam
  5. Yangmeikeng Sea Boulevard
  6. Rijnvliet, Edible Neighborhood
  7. Healthy Tracks
  8. Towards a healthy city by foot
  9. Floating Gardens, Amsterdam
  10. The Unbound Amsterdam
  11. Seaside Gardens, Gufunes
  12. Brainport Smart District Helmond
  13. The Swan, Zwolle (NL)
  14. Spatial Framework Blankenburg Süden, Berlin
  15. 'Typhoon-proof' Shenzhen's East Coast
  16. Circular City Bodø 2.0
  17. Jonas Amsterdam
  18. A green entrance for the airport
  19. Public Space Alpen
  20. Cartesius Quarter
  21. Isle of Dikes
  22. Smakkelaarsveld Utrecht
  23. Darmstadt Masterplan 2030+
  24. Bao’An G107 Corridor
  25. Master Plan Ter Aar, Nieuwkoop
  26. Waterfront Novosibirsk
  27. City Square Tyumen
  28. Almazov National Medical Research Centre
  29. Strategic Urban Green Study
  30. Public Space Strategy Kanpur
  31. Quartierlandschaft Dietenbach
  32. ImageWharf
  33. Ódinstorg Square
  34. Overloon War Museum
  35. Lokhalle Leverkusen
  36. Ludlstrasse Munich
  37. Yaanila Country Park
  38. Redevelopment Strategy Vogabyggð
  39. Villa Garden
  40. City life in the woods
  41. Schie Quarter Schiedam
  42. Socio-technical city of the future
  43. Buji River
  44. Vaskhnil Novosibirsk
  45. Precincts Canterbury Cathedral
  46. Maritime Campus Almere
  47. Resilient Riverscape Berat
  48. Sijthoff
  49. Strategic Plan Shkodra
  50. Ekaterinburg City Campus
  51. Transformation Strategy Gufunes
  52. Transformation Strategy Chelyabinsk
  53. Fish Market Leuven
  54. Zinder Culture Cluster
  55. Food Innovation Strip Ede-Wageningen
  56. S4 Highway Hangzhou
  57. Strategic Plan Fier
  58. Strategic Plan Elbasan
  59. Kronenburg Business Park
  60. Dharavi Mumbai
  61. Masterplan Smáralind Mall
  62. Urban Test Farm Emmen
  63. Ásbrú Enterprise Park
  64. Asylum Seekers Center Ter Apel
  65. Berlin Am Volkspark
  66. The Museum of the 20th Century
  67. Gardabaer
  68. Metropolitan Westerpark Amsterdam
  69. Science and Technology City Chongqing
  70. Yue Xiu 353 Transformation
  71. Erlongshan Recreational Park
  72. Danxia Recreational Park
  73. Campus Lelystad
  74. Proto Tamansari
  75. City Gardens Tyumen
  76. Park Somerlust Amsterdam
  77. Agricultural Innovation Campus
  78. Bandar Lampung Park
  79. R&D Campus Fengxian
  80. S-West Eindhoven
  81. Biodiversity based dairy farming
  82. Heidelberg Creative Quarter
  83. Brainport Industries Campus
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