Het Ledig Erf
Europan 4:

The Natural Threshold

Ruth van Eck-Rotholz
Dick Bruijne
The Ledig Erf site forms a natural threshold to the historic center of Utrecht. It’s form echoes the lines of the undulating greenbelt, known as the ‘bolwerks’, which bounds the historic city edge. It is situated at the confluence of the Singel, the Kromme Rijn, the Oudegracht, and the Vaartscherijn, and facing the Southern port of the historic town.
The site is presently an anonymous urban tissue cut by a multiplicity of traffic routes, and littered by stop lights and signs rather than forming a prominent stepping stone between the newly planned Vaartscherjn train station and the Museum District. It is at best a chaotic void.
To extract the potential of the space, we want that the anonymous space functions as the threshold to the city. To function as the threshold, we create a public square as the principle organizing element of the project. The waters of the Singel, the Kromme Rijn, and the Vaartscherijn define the western and northern edges of the square. The Rietveld style buildings on Gansstraaat define the southern edge. The proposed building complex, an Apartment-Hotel, defines the eastern edge with the linear volume set up on a plinth cantilevering over the road. Two-way traffic is redirected along the two build edges of the public square. The pedestrian route from the proposed Vaartscherijn train station continues along the western edge of the public square and over the Tolsteeg bridge into the historic center.

Model credits: Ruth van Eck-Rotholz and Dick Bruijne