Dynamic meeting space
For a long time, the Jaarbeursplein was a place without significant meaning or identity. Located on the west side of the central station of Utrecht, often experienced as the back of the station or merely a passage between the station and the Jaarbeurs Exhibition & Convention Centre. It will change with the implementation of the master plan for the station area, CU2030, the new Jaarbeursplein will form the largest city square in Utrecht. A meeting place for anyone who wants to travel, shop, live, work and relax in the dynamic city at the heart of the Netherlands.
On and around the new Jaarbeursplein everything is extra-large (XL). This can even be applied to the use of the square: it too is XL. The square accommodates for large flows of pedestrians, cyclists and major events in the city. OKRA devised a concept that aims to achieve a welcoming human scale within this XL environment, creating a lively and socially safe square. We propose creating a set of long low steps along the square connecting and defining the space while being a pleasant place out of the wind and in the sun. The steps provide a clear division between pedestrians and cyclists, paved and green, transfers and places to stay.
Just as along the canals of Utrecht the square will have a robust assortment of trees planted, with a variety of species creating variety through the seasons. The new Jaarbeursplein as an important metropolitan meeting place will serve as an important catalyst for further property development around the Jaarbeurs and the central station. For OKRA this is, after the Parkkade in Rotterdam, the second project to be realised where the Tour de France has started.