Bold masonry work in Leidsche Rijn Centrum
The Leidsche Rijn urban district in Utrecht is the largest development location in the Netherlands. it currently has 80,000 inhabitants, a population that will reach 100,000 in 2025. One element was still missing in this urban district − a beating heart. Jo Coenen designed a classic urban plan − Leidsche Rijn Centrum – high blocks with retail and catering in the plinth and accommodation above. Brusselplein, a vibrant city plaza, forms the centrepiece in this plan. The building, designed by De Zwarte Hond and accommodating the Jumbo Foodmarkt Café and 18 residential units, is situated on the corner of this plaza, near to the train station. it is a striking, robust property with carefully elaborated masonry, remarkably distinct from the adjacent properties. This diversity is intentionally prescribed in the urban development plan. instead of giving each architect one block to design, Coenen has divided the blocks into smaller buildings. According to the rules of the master plan all the blocks are made up of three sections: a plinth, middle and an upper level accent, while the corner buildings have extra accentuation. And this is also found in the De Zwarte Hond’s bold corner building with the strongly-staggered plinth. Seven bricks protruding and five recessed form an unusual eye-catcher. At the same time this differentiation gives the accommodation more privacy, because people do not notice the apartments as they walk past the plinth.