KCAP designs in commission of developers Synchroon and AM a multifunctional building ensemble within the Merwedekanaalzone development in Utrecht. The urban plan by BURA urbanism transforms the former industrial area into a new city quarter. Block 8 by KCAP is an urban block of subarea 5, a mixed building ensemble with apartments, facilities, and extensive greenery. Last week, the plans for Merwede have been presented to the Utrecht city council for decision-making.

The well-being of residents and visitors was a guiding principle in the development of the urban plan for one of the largest inner-city, car-free districts in the Netherlands and led to defining the following themes: 'Coulisse City', ‘Lively City District', 'Green Domain', 'Mobile Merwede' and 'Healthy and Sustainable'. Block 8, designed by KCAP, translates these qualities into an attractive residential and working environment. Besides KCAP as coordinating architect, the firms MONK architecten and Studio Nauta are designing several buildings of Block 8.

In response to the idea of the ‘Coulisse City’, a permeable and airy urban context where density combines with human scale, Block 8 consists of a small-grained building structure with an easily readable composition of a plinth, a middle part, and a setback with roof gardens in a variety of widths and heights. The block has an accessible and crossable semi-public courtyard and connects with its architectural quality to the development's outer edges.

KCAP integrates the idea of a ‘Lively City District‘ with a diverse mixed programme to generate liveliness and activity at all times of the day. In addition to a wide variety of housing types, the multifunctional block includes a day nursery, a neighbourhood centre, a health centre, a gym, an office building and various gastronomy establishments. In this way, Block 8 aims to be a pleasant place where different functions and people meet.

To create a ‚Green Domain‘, the proportion of greenery is maximised at the inside and outside of the block: the courtyard designed by Flux landscape architecture has a very green character, some of the buildings have a green façade and the lower roofs offer lush roof gardens. This solution contributes to a nature-inclusive plan that includes space for flora and fauna and fosters the much-needed biodiversity in urban environments.

Regarding ‘Mobile Merwede’, the ground level zone of Merwede will be designed to be as car-free and green as possible. Healthy mobility in the form of slow traffic and the use of public transport will be encouraged. Such an approach results in a very low parking norm with concentrated parking facilities, the underground parking garage of Block 8 serves also several blocks.

Block 8 is a healthy and sustainable living and working environment. Besides the green, the above qualities provide a high degree of social sustainability. Technical sustainability meets high ambitions regarding energy generation and consumption, material use, and circularity. KCAP follows these goals to create a pleasant and future-proof neighbourhood in Utrecht to live and work in, a great place for starters, the elderly, families, and singles.

Client Synchroon and AM

Program 64.000 m2 mixed-use program with apartments in a wide variety of housing types (47.000 m2), co-working spaces (7.000 m2), day nursery (800 m2), health- and community centre (2.100m2), gym (600 m2), commercial space (550 m2), gastronomy (1.100 m2), underground parking garage

Architects KCAP Architects&Planners, MONK architects, Studio Nauta