SuperHub Meerstad: The supermarket as a meeting place!

De Zwarte Hond is proud to announce the completion of the SuperHub in Meerstad. Inspired by the mission to better connect the burgeoning Groningen district and to transform it into an interactive social space, De Zwarte Hond was commissioned by real estate developer MWPO to design a multifunctional and adaptive central building for the neighbourhood. The innovative community hub was inaugurated on 2 November.

Centre in a Green Heart
Meerstad is an up-and-coming district of Groningen. The area is popular for its open space, greenery and the Woldmeer recreational lake, around which a neighbourhood with 5000 new homes will be built in the coming decades. Eventually, the area will grow into a vivid city district. With this future expansion in mind, it is important for the neighbourhood to contain an inviting community centre, which serves as a place for residents to shop, meet and eat. De Zwarte Hond’s eye-catching SuperHub embodies this central function and holds sustainability and quality of life as central design values.

Modern Market Hall
The SuperHub represents a revitalised circular version of the traditional market hall design. It is expansive and transparent, with a supporting structure made entirely of cross-shaped laminated wooden columns and beams, which give the building a cathedral-like appearance. The large span and nine-metre ceiling height create an exceptionally luminous space and offer the opportunity for flexible layout and usage adaptations in the future. The large canopy, which extends out more than five metres, provides sun protection and pulls the structure into its green surroundings with the use of elegant columns and net-like wooden trusses. In addition, the cleverly designed cross forms provide the building with stability, so that no additional wind bracing infrastructure is required. The choice for a wooden construction also ensures a positive climate impact.

Ecological and Sustainable
SuperHub is a modern symbiosis of marketplace and shopping centre, where visitors can do their shopping and visit a trendy café. In addition, the structure was built to last and offers the possibility for future adjustments or additions. The flexible, open layout allows for its functions to be reinvented along with the changing needs of the community, meaning that it will not become outdated or be demolished in the future. The building could for example accommodate a community centre, a museum or even homes in 20 years’ time. In this way, SuperHub manifests itself as a future-proof community hub that will grow along with the development of Meerstad.

The roof of the SuperHub has been reserved for the placement of solar panels and plants for bees and insects. The built-in air treatment installation as well as the heat and cold ground storage ensure an optimal and energy-efficient indoor climate. The structure is also designed in such a way that it can absorb and withstand the vibrations of Groningen earthquakes. Additionally, the SuperHub’s flexible design allows it to fulfil a wide array functions and activities, such as community gatherings.

Varied and Multifunctional
SuperHub offers the Meerstad neighbourhood an opportunity for varied functionality, and currently includes a supermarket and a café. The open and spacious building functions as a meeting place for residents in addition to its function of providing food. Our aim was to make the shopping experience personal and social again, and to offer residents a refreshing alternative to the increasingly popular express delivery services. The impressive spatial qualities of the structure are essential here to fulfil its purpose as an attractive and multifunctional community centre. This way, the supermarket becomes a place for everyday groceries as well as way for meeting each other, thereby contributing to the social sustainability of the Meerstad neighbourhood.

The project was created in collaboration with MWPO, Brands Bouw B.V., Maripaan Groep, Jumbo Supermarkten, Bureau Meerstad, Pieters Bouwtechniek, and DGMR.