A new residential tower completed on Churchilllaan in Kanaleneiland, Utrecht, will give a big impetus to the development of this typical post-war reconstruction district. The new 50-metre-tall building, designed by Mei architects and planners, acts as a gatekeeper to Kanaleneiland. The tower contains a mixed programme of housing: 71 private sector rental dwellings in the upper portion, 15 dwellings for autistic youths, and 9 live-work units in the base of the building.
‘Slow made’ facade gives De Verkenner identity
本项目的立面设计呼应了Kanaleneiland地区的其它混凝土公寓，强调竖向线条。为了屏蔽来自街道的噪音，立面在靠近街道的位置被设置为封闭的，随着高度增加，开口的数量逐渐增加。作为对于本地材料及生产技术的回应，大楼立面也是“慢制造”的，其混凝土材质采用了与周围街道的砖墙相协调的颜色。两层高的混凝土板的表面饰以纹理及浮雕细节，超过13000块瓷砖点缀其中。这些瓷砖来自荷兰最古老的瓷砖生产商，并雕刻有视觉艺术家Milou van Ham与诗人Tsead Bruinja合作设计的十六行诗句。这些诗句赋予大楼以本地特色。
The design for the facade responds to the concrete gallery-access blocks of flats in Kanaleneiland. In contrast to the horizontal articulation of these facades, the exterior of De Verkenner is predominantly vertical in design. Owing to the high noise levels on Churchilllaan, the facade here is closed in character, but the number of openings increases towards the top. 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. 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.
▼精雕细琢的立面设计是对本地工艺的致敬，the “slow made” facade responds to the local materials and production techniques
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.
▼阳台及走廊的底部同样经过仔细设计，the finishing of the undersides of balconies and galleries
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. 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.
▼大楼南侧围合成开敞的户外空间，the building is ‘hollowed out’ in the southern side
The materials applied to the inner facade planes contrast starkly with the outer facades, enhancing the plasticity of the building. 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.
▼即使在最阴沉的天气，这里依然阳光明媚，the bright colors have given vibrant qualities to the building as well as the neighborhood
Roses & Concrete Artwork
建筑师将艺术纳入建筑物。为了打造这个由13000块镶有诗歌的瓷砖构成的De Verkenner艺术作品——“玫瑰和混凝土” ，建筑师与视觉艺术家Milou van Ham合作。她曾与建筑师在Spijkenisse的另一个作品中有过合作。在这个项目中，她使用了诗人Tsead Bruinja的十六句诗。这些诗句描述了人们的真实生活，友谊和感情，探讨着一所住宅，一座大楼，一个社区乃至一个城市的过去、现在和未来。这些刻有诗句的瓷砖被随机插入立面元素中。因此，人们阅读这些诗句的方式和传统诗歌不同，后者的顺序是固定的，而这里是灵活的。从而创造了一个更加开放的阅读体验。
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. 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.
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.
▼13000块雕刻着诗歌的瓷砖将立面打造为艺术品，the artwork made by 13,000 ceramic tiles with lines of poetry
▼露台成为休憩、交谈和享受美景的场所，the terrace has become a place for retreat
▼一层平面图，first floor plan
▼五层平面图，fifth floor plan
▼16层平面图，sixteenth floor plan
▼（左）幕墙单元轴测图，the axonometric view of facade element；（右）瓷砖设计图，the tile design
Since Dutch politics has restricted project development by housing corporations, De Verkenner is for the present the last construction project with private housing for corporation Mitros. Client Mitros is particularly pleased: it is a wonderful building and all dwellings were rented before completion.
Location: Al-Masoedilaan 2-142, Utrecht NL
Program: 12.500 m2
Team Mei: Robert Winkel, Menno van der Woude, Robert Platje, Michiel van Loon, Reinoud van der Zijde, Roy Wijte, Jelena Radonjic
Client: Mitros, Utrecht
Photos: Jeroen Musch, Ossip van Duivenbode