The Cartesius Utrecht, a former marshalling yard of the Dutch Railways, will be transformed into a new residential neighbourhood. The masterplan for 2,600 homes, a large central park, a school, a supermarket, catering and various other facilities is inspired by the ambition to create a neighbourhood where people live longer, healthier and happier lives. The area is set to become the most healthy, well-connected to public transport and bicycle-friendly neighbourhood in the Netherlands.
We have taken our inspiration from areas around the world where many residents live exceptionally long and healthy lives. Investigations about the residents’ habits that had positive health effects found common characteristics. These healthy habits have been translated into four urban design themes for the new neighbourhood in Utrecht: mobility, healthy diet, community and meaningfulness & relaxation. The eye-catcher and epicentre of the Cartesius Utrecht will be the historic CAB building (1949). Its new infill will relate to the healthy urban living themes.
A Food Hall with healthy catering facilities and restaurants traverses the CAB as a green street and forms a connection with the Cartesius Utrecht park, the green heart of the neighbourhood. The diversity of functions in the transparent plinth activates the area on all sides of the building, making it an attractive meeting place for residents. On top of the CAB is a nine-storey apartment complex. With its undulating balconies, it forms a striking contrast with the rectilinear substructure.
Cartesius Utrecht will become a lively urban neighbourhood with abundant greenery. All urban amenities will be easily accessible; walking and cycling will be the main modes of transport. Emphasis has been placed on sustainability, innovative energy solutions and sustainable (shared) mobility. The neighbourhood offers a variety of housing typologies for diverse target groups, with about a quarter of the units intended for rental social housing.