Project: Atlas of Spaces
Client: Municipality Utrecht
Location: Berlijnplein, Leidsche Rijn
Status: Voorlopig ontwerp
Team: Ard de Vries Architecten & Studio Donna van Milligen Bielke
Atlas of Spaces is a result of the requirement for a ‘building’ in which the space still has to be defined and in which the function is not determined in advance. A cultural building with the goal of increasing cultural awareness on various levels. A place devoted to continuous involvement and participation that creates a widely supported identity. The Forum as an Atlas of Spaces, by and for makers.
The orthogonal structure of the Atlas embraces the surrounding classical structure of this urban fabric, but at the same time it seeks to connect with the historical plot division that provides the basis for the underlaying polder structure, which makes the southern side of the building connect spatially with the historical farmstead. On the ‘formal’ side facing BerlijnPlein, the building responds with a symmetrical volume and a prominent forecourt. The edges are marked by clearly defined urban boundaries. Extending the sequence of public spaces and squares into the building and connecting them to the existing urban fabric lends the building an intricate and human scale, despite its size. This anchors the Atlas to the city.
The building is a collection of spaces, a city in its own right. An atlas of diverse spaces. The wide differentiation between spaces ensures that various users can appropriate the building. The building functions as a city with a central interior street that divides and connects. Within this city, various identities will form. Each user group is allocated a ‘living room’, a public place of gathering and encounter. Larger and smaller connected spaces are arranged around the living rooms. Although the building is highly generic in layout, it also contains a number of highly specific spaces. Depending on the use, the building can grow in an infinite number of ways. As a result, form follows contents, and the result is not predetermined. All that is provided is a framework. The Atlas of Spaces manifests itself both as a building and a city. Although iconic and an entity, the Atlas also remains a collection of buildings.