De Pleinmakers develop the Berlinplein, Utrecht

18 May 2022

The municipality of Utrecht sets the circular bar high on the Berlin square. This mixed-use development in Leidsche Rijn creates a cultural heart with rural allure. The De Pleinmakers consortium has won the tender to design, build and manage the Berlin Square. It is already a meeting place with various cultural, creative and social organizations where everyone can enjoy art, culture and a cup of coffee. It is now being further developed into a future-proof cultural heart with circular buildings, a diverse program and sustainable squares in 2025. And that in co-creation with current and future users and local residents. A square by everyone, for everyone!

Today De Pleinmakers signed the contract to realize the cultural heart of Berlin Square. The consortium consists of enterprising builder Vink Bouw ​​​​​​ and project leader Studio R. The designers are INBO, Bureau SLA, Overtreders W, Woonpioniers and BOOM Landscape. Furthermore, DWA (sustainability, installations & building physics), SPIE (maintenance & installation), New Horizon (material harvesting), Pieters Bouwtechniek (engineering firm), Koen Koch Podiumadvies, DVDL (culture strategist) and BLOC (co-creation & process) complete the consortium. .

The municipality of Utrecht has today signed a collaboration agreement with the four main tenants of the city lab RAUM, development partner DePlaatsmaker,, creative incubator Kanaal30 and the Utrecht School of the Arts (HKU) to realize the transformation of Berlin Square.

Tender procedure won
After several dialogue sessions with the municipality, current tenants and other stakeholders, De Pleinmakers won the demanding tender procedure, in which 16 parties took part. The client and driver of this development, the municipality of Utrecht, is enthusiastic about the high level of circularity and sustainability, our concrete plans for co-creation and collaboration, the clear process management and the flexible design.

Ambitious and innovative project
This is a particularly ambitious and innovative project for three reasons. Firstly, we are developing Berlin Square entirely in co-creation. We made a first sketch design, but now we really start the adventure with everyone involved. We connect the people who will use the cultural heart with those who make it, thus realizing the common, high ambitions. Second, we design a culture heart that has many more types of users, programs and functions than usual. Dancing, performing, working, meeting and teaching: soon it will all be possible here. A public space for the city for and with everyone, because we are aware of the diversity in this neighbourhood. Finally, with Berlin Square, we are setting a new standard in circularity and sustainability. We think completely in modularity, will use biobased materials and start our own materials bank.

The cultural heart of Berlin Square covers 9,200 m² and is formed by various clusters, buildings, pavilions and squares. The buildings are connected to each other by a wooden support and consist of circular and renewable products such as wood, facade parts made of recycled plastic and biobased materials.

Berlin Square Office
In their own Bureau Berlinplein, the designers, engineers and developers get to work with the users, neighbors and the co-makers. In this way we build on the interaction between building, outdoor space and the constructive support. This carrier ensures coherence and invites to parts of the building and program. Different building components can then easily determine and shape their own circular life cycle. The carrier acts as a back wall and 'socket socket' for transformations over months or over years. Electricity and heat are also shared between the users with the carrier. In this way, both a programmatic and an energetic exchange take place. Solar chimneys provide passive heating and cooling.

The new building with exhibition and presentation spaces, studios for dance, theater and music, studios, catering and workshops for education and the creative industry should open its doors at the end of 2025.



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