A stone’s throw from Utrecht station stands HET PLATFORM, a building designed as a “microcity”. A virtuous example of sustainability and urban autonomy.
When Tom Verhoeven, the building’s architect, envisioned building a large housing complex above the Utrecht bus station, the biggest problem he had to solve was the available floor space. It was barely 170m2, so he decided to not only build the building but to also renovate the bus station by adding two floors. Now the building extends over 18,500m2 and 12 floors. In collaboration with engineers, the construction team opted for a structure partly composed of truss beams, which halved the weight of concrete and steel needed.
It seems the building has always been there as it fits so well into the landscape of the city. HET PLATFORM creates a rather unique connection between urban life (taking the bus or train, shopping, going to the restaurant) and a place to live (living, exercising, relaxing…). The building has a lot of shared facilities: bicycle storage, meeting places, green terraces, a fitness area, a restaurant… The residents can both feel at home and be active citizens of the bustling city.
In addition, the whole neighbourhood has been involved in the design of the building since the very beginning. The residents’ concerns, wishes and knowledge of the area have been taken into account.
Nature in the city
In the Netherlands, HET PLATFORM is one of the first buildings combining living and working places to have so much integrated nature. Four roof gardens and green facades complete and enrich the building. To participate in the biodiversity of the city, the architects devised a plantation programme inspired by the landscapes of the province of Utrecht. The result: the building is in bloom for much of the year, attracting many birds and insects.