The building of student dwellings in the complex of buildings belonging to Utrecht University has transformed the Uithof site into a full-fledged campus. It will also help relieve the chronic housing shortage for young people in the city of Utrecht.
Within the line of freestanding buildings (‘Objectenstrook’) the master plan designed by OMA, our block of 380 independent and clustered rooms presents itself as a solitary mass with a 20 metre cantilever. The spectacular main concrete supporting structure consists of four slabs that together form a theatrical single table leg. The ‘leg’ and its rocking bench dramatize the main entrance and create an urban rendezvous which distills the encounters and the to-and- from of all those students.
The colossal mass which rests on the main supporting structure consists of upright slabs penetrated by longitudinal tunnels, producing a building with high flexibility which will be a long-lasting addition to the Uithof.
The facade is made up of a grid of multicoloured aluminium panels with omissions for the windows. Seen from a distance, the colours coalesce into grey, scaly skin, but on closer viewing they turn into a colourful hive for young eggheads. The lively facade reflects the wide diversity of tenants from all corners of the world.
The building provides for encounter and communication at all scales. With its festive rooms, staircases and corridors with alcoves, the building forms a social microcosm in which youthful love may blossom and lasting friendships may develop.