De Verkenner Utrecht Residential Tower

De Verkenner Utrecht Residential Tower Development, Dutch Architecture Images

De Verkenner Utrecht Residential Tower

New Housing Development in Holland – design by Mei architects and planners

11 Aug 2017

De Verkenner Utrecht Residential Tower

Location: Utrecht, The Netherlands

Design: Mei architects and planners

featuring ‘Rozen en beton’ – Roses and concrete – artwork and poem

Unique Concrete Facade for Residential Tower in Utrecht (NL)

Residential tower ‘De Verkenner’ in Utrecht (NL) gives a big impetus to the development of the typical post-war reconstruction district Kanaleneiland. The 50-metre-tall building, with a mixed programme of housing, acts as a gatekeeper to this area.

Photos below by Jeroen Musch:

De Verkenner Utrecht Residential Tower

The ‘slow-made’ concrete facade with an incorporated poetry artwork gives a unique identity to the building. Not surprising the building already won the Archmarathon Award 2017 and was Architizer A+A finalist.

De Verkenner Utrecht Residential Tower

The design for the facade responds to the concrete gallery-access blocks of flats in Kanaleneiland. The facade is ‘slow made’ with consciousness regarding local materials and production techniques. The colour harmonizes with the brickwork facades of the new developments on Churchilllaan, but it is constructed of concrete.

De Verkenner Utrecht Residential Tower

The brown concrete elements, each two floors tall, feature a surface texture and relief details. This effect is enhanced by the incorporation of 13,000 ceramic tiles, made by Royal Tichelaar Makkum – the oldest company in the Netherlands and world-famous for its ceramics designs. Based on a design by visual artist Milou van Ham in collaboration with poet Tsead Bruinja, these tiles feature 16 different lines of poetry that lend the building an identity specific to the location.

De Verkenner Utrecht Residential Tower De Verkenner Utrecht Residential Tower

Roses & Concrete Artwork

As an architecture office, Mei supports the inclusion of art in buildings. For the art project ‘Roses & Concrete’ at De Verkenner – 13,000 ceramic tiles with lines of poetry in the facade – Mei therefore commissioned visual artist Milou van Ham. She had previously added a layer to the ‘4 Worlds’ residential building by Mei in Spijkenisse. Here she incorporated hundreds of words that convey the identity of Spijkenisse in the facade and balcony elements.

De Verkenner Utrecht Residential Tower

For De Verkenner, Milou worked with poet Tsead Bruinja. The 16 lines of poetry form a poetic reflection on friendships and relations. These mini-stories concern ordinary events and real people. They deal with living together in a house, a building, a neighbourhood or a city in the past, present and future.

De Verkenner Utrecht Residential Tower

The ceramic tiles are inserted into the facade elements randomly. As a result, the way you read the lines and connect them to one another is different to a poem where the sequence is fixed. In passing, you can read the lines in isolation, separately from the other tiles. Together they form a varied and exciting composition.

Photos below: Ossip Van Duivenbode

De Verkenner housing in Utrecht De Verkenner housing in Utrecht

De Verkenner housing in Utrecht

Scant attention is usually paid in Kanaleneiland to the finishing of the undersides of balconies and galleries, elements that are clearly visible to passers-by. Mei architects and planners therefore extended the facade finish beneath the balconies and galleries. The result is a very inviting building. By contracting the facade separately, Mei succeeded in realizing this unique facade.

Watch the video about the production of this facade..

De Verkenner housing in Utrecht De Verkenner housing in Utrecht

Sunny appearance

On the sunny and noise-free southern side, the building is ‘hollowed out’, so to speak. As many dwellings as possible on this side contain an outdoor space. To allow for optimal daylight penetration, the balconies here are made of ultra-strong concrete just 7 cm thick.

De Verkenner housing in Utrecht

From the balconies, some of which cantilever three metres, residents enjoy a wonderful view of Utrecht and surroundings. A huge opening on the tenth floor frames this fantastic view.

De Verkenner housing in Utrecht

The materials applied to the inner facade planes contrast starkly with the outer facades, enhancing the plasticity of the building.

De Verkenner housing in Utrecht

Railings in yellow glass and champagne-coloured frames mean that, even when the weather isn’t great, De Verkenner still has a sunny and sparkling appearance that radiates throughout the neighbourhood.

De Verkenner housing in Utrecht

De Verkenner Utrecht Residential Tower – Building Information

Architect: Mei architects and planners, Rotterdam
Team Mei: Robert Winkel, Menno van der Woude, Robert Platje, Michiel van Loon, Reinoud van der Zijde, Roy Wijte, Jelena Radonjic

De Verkenner housing in Utrecht

Client: Mitros, Utrecht
Construction: Era Contour
Realization: Oct 2014 – Apr 2016
Structural engineer: PBT, Delft
Building Physics: Peutz
Fire safety: Peutz
Cost consultant: Basalt Bouwadvies

De Verkenner housing in Utrecht

Artwork ‘Rozen en beton’(Roses and concrete): Milou van Ham, in association with Moniek Driessen
Poem ‘Rozen en beton’(Roses and concrete): Tsead Bruinja, in association with Milou van Ham
Concrete elements: Decomo, Belgium
Ceramic tiles: Royal Tichelaar Makkum
Photos: Jeroen Musch, Rotterdam / Ossip van Duivenbode

De Verkenner Utrecht Residential Tower building

For more background information, you can watch the following videos:
Production of the facade
Explanation of the design by Robert Winkel
Recital of Roses & Concrete poem by the makers

De Verkenner Utrecht Residential Tower building facade

De Verkenner Utrecht Residential Tower images / information received 110817


Mei architects and planners
Schiehavenkade 522, 3024 EZ Rotterdam | | +31 (0)10 425 2222

Location: along Churchilllaan, close to the roundabout. The exact address is Al—Masoedilaan 104-148, Utrecht NL


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De Verkenner Utrecht Residential Tower

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