The Vertical Forests of Utrecht

In the third and final story about Utrecht we look at a couple of other environmental projects that the city has sponsored or supported.

The first is a 90m high residential tower block designed by Stefano Boeri Architetti. This attempts to create, in Utrecht city centre, “an innovative experience of cohabitation between city and nature”.

Screen Shot 2019-08-10 at 18.31.51The Utrecht Vertical Forest will host on its façades around 10,000 plants of different species (360 trees, 9,640 shrubs and flowers), equal to 1 ha of woodland.
Once realised, the “Wonder woods” will contribute to the absorption of more than 5.4 tons of CO2.

A second project is a clubhouse for a local hockey club. The project’s program can be roughly divided into two parts — the changing rooms and everything that supports them, and the clubhouse itself. The changing rooms are partially underground, while the clubhouse volume is placed on top, allowing for beautiful views of the fields — the raised ground level serves as a terrace and stand.

img_11_1549380991_75a05ab3f7ec7e7738e043086ff1b2a4The basement is designed in concrete, the light exterior with a wooden cladding contrasts nicely with it and stands like a pavilion on the basement. The field side is kept as transparent as possible with glass fronts that can open in the summer, so that inside and outside flow into each other. In order to accentuate the subordinate function of the other façade openings, the view is filtered through slats.

The layout of the clubhouse is divided into different spaces that can be opened and closed according to the required use — it is flexible and suitable for different ways of use and number of people present. The solar panels on the roof and the heat pumps ensure that the building generates more energy than it uses. The main field features LED lighting — as soon as the traditional lighting of the other fields is replaced by LED, the entire complex is expected to become energy-neutral.

Lonely Planet recently included Utrecht in the top 10 of the world’s unsung places. This short series of articles perhaps explains why. There is much for Coventry to learn as we move to the low carbon future.

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