The Platform Utrecht: A green oasis in a Dutch city

Posted on Friday 26 June, 2020

In the heart of the Dutch city of Utrecht, "The Platform" has arisen - a mixed-use community building for living, working and playing. This MircoCity is built in a prime location in Utrecht, on top of the tram and bus terminal Uithoflijn and directly adjacent to the station’s square. The design by architect VenhoevenCS architecture + urbanism focuses on a healthy lifestyle in an inspiring environment, with an abundance of light, air and greenery. Thanks to a mix of complementary functions, The Platform mainly wants to be autarkic. Within the neutral shades of gray of the new building, all kinds of green accents have been applied, both in the form of roof gardens and by means of two large, lush living walls, installed by Sempergreen commissioned by BTL Realisatie.

First nature inclusive residential building on this scale in the Netherlands 

In the urban environment, relatively little space is available for living greenery, especially in such a unique location near a public transport hub. However, The Platform is designed as a carrier for all kinds of greenery as if it were a natural landscape within the city and thus shows its nature-inclusive character. Two large living walls mark the entrance on both the ground and first floor. They instantly offer residents and visitors a pleasant atmosphere. The vertical gardens complement the four roof gardens, including a viewing garden, a park garden with picnic tables, and even an orchard. These gardens offer fantastic views over the station area and the historic city center. On this scale, it is probably the first nature-inclusive residential building that has been realized in the Netherlands.

Christiaan Bakker, Green Wall Specialist Sempergreen: “With relatively little space, we managed to apply living greenery in the urban environment. The combination of a modern and sharp building and the warmth of greenery is what makes this project special.”

SemperGreenwalls with irrigation system and frost protection

The two living walls of Sempergreen have been exclusively cultivated for this project. The planting schedule was compiled in careful consultation with the architect. Since the entrance is an unheated space, both living walls are planted with coordinated outdoor planting. The facades cover a total of 120 square meters. The building manager is completely unburdened in terms of plant care, this is taken care of by the unique Sempergreen Plant Care System. This fully automatic irrigation system provides the plants with the necessary water and nutrients. In addition, the system is equipped with frost protection.

As The Platform is constructed on top of the new Uithoflijn station, the total project of more than 18,000 sqm has a minimum footprint of only 170 sqm at ground level. It almost seems as if the building has 'grown' into place.

Green offers many advantages for the city

In addition to creating a pleasant ambiance, green walls offer many other benefits for a building and its surroundings. For example, the greenery lowers the ambient temperature, which is particularly pleasant in the hot summers. CO2 is absorbed from the air and converted into oxygen. In addition, a SemperGreenwall has a sound-absorbing effect. It reduces the ambient noise in the busy city. Finally, the SemperGreenwalls enrich the biodiversity in the city; a living wall is like an oasis for bees, butterflies and insects.