jaarbeurs utrecht

The Jaarbeurs complex in the centre of Utrecht will be undergoing a metamorphosis in the coming years. In the process, the exhibition complex will become more durable, more flexible in use and above all, the incentive to linger and experiential value will be improved. An important first step is the realization of the Jaarbeurs Passage – the new entrance area and an important link between the various halls internally and between the Jaarbeurs complex and the city. cepezed won the architects’ competition for the passage with a vision that mainly focused on the realization of all the ambitions in a single, unambiguous and organizing intervention: an internal passage that greatly improves the appearance and the incentive to linger while also structuring the complex circulation routes, including the stairs and lifts, entrances and security zoning. The design additionally allows for the possibility of tackling the various parts of the complex in phases in later stages of the redevelopment. This way, the internal passage forms a backbone within the complex. The basis consists of steel rack constructions placed in the length against the existing north and south halls with a roofed-over section in between. The rack constructions include a range of facilities and provide the possibility for separately replacing or renovating the halls behind. An elevated bridge construction through the entire passage introduces a division between visitors and passers-by and is part of a larger masterplan with a chain of public spaces. Above the bridge, at a height of seven metres, a number of green squares are planned, which link the congress facilities on the north and south side. Between the rack constructions, a maximally transparent roof has been designed with a light steel construction and an ETFE infill. The green squares will not be roofed over and enjoy the character of outdoor spaces. cepezed’s design vision does not represent the final outcome, but rather the point of departure for the design process that is being started up on the basis of intensive consultations with all the Jaarbeurs stakeholders.

utrecht / the netherlands