Casanova+Hernandez architects | U008_Starkenborghkanaal Master Plan


U008_Starkenborghkanaal Master Plan

Groningen, Netherlands

The intervention area is part of an ‘intermediate’ zone between two different urban structures: the residential city and the industrial ring in front of the junction between two main canals of the city.

In the 1920s, the Dutch architect Berlage designed a plan for the area in which the mix of residential and industrial uses was promoted. Long housing blocks formed various ‘U’ shapes encompassing industrial areas along the canals. This scheme was at the time extremely efficient. The industrial areas were directly connected to the water transport system and the workers’ houses were on one side close to the work areas and on the other facing large green fields for leisure.

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Large scale. Urban regeneration:

A revitalization of the areas along the Van Starkenborghkanaal and the Oosterhamrikkanaal is proposed by introducing a new urban typology based on the mix of uses (housing, commercial units, offices and starting businesses units) that follow as inspiration the mix of uses of Berlage’s scheme. The new urban development consists of two main elements:

1 A solid plinth that houses facilities, housing for living and working, and business units that unifies the entire urban intervention, defines a new public space, and establishes a dialogue with the urban scheme created by Berlage.

2 Three glazed volumes made up of dwellings, designed as light and transparent “crystals”, sit like precious jewels on the solid plinth, thus accentuating the contrast between heavy and light, opaque and transparent, rough and smooth.

Medium scale: mix of functions / typologies

Canal houses:

Thanks to the scale of the location, related to the large canals still used for water transport, urban planning can be based in certain areas on transparent, light and large-scale “floating” volumes where very open and flexible typologies can be placed.

The houses facing the main canal are characterized by a combination of a compact volume, which will house the storage, kitchen and bathroom areas of the house, and a fluid space around it that can then be divided according to the needs of the users

Apartments tower:

In order to create a clear landmark in the area, a new 9-level tower has been placed in one of the corners of the intervention. This volume is also understood as one of the ‘crystals’ placed on top of the solid plinth.

Plinth houses:

The solid plinth houses some row houses.

The facades of these houses have been specially designed as part of the public space, creating a rhythm that will be reinforced by the pavement and by the position of the different urban elements of the intervention.

‘Super-casco’ houses / living-and-working houses:

A mix of commercial-starting business units and housing is integrated into this volume.

The ground floor is proposed as a very free high plinth where starting businesses can be placed in combination with the house on top.

The layout of the rest of the house is totally free and future users will design it entirely.

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Nijestee Vastgoed, Groningen Municipality
Housing and public spaces
Under construction
2.9 Ha
35.000 m²