A city park above A12-Utrechtsebaan

Last month the O-team issued advice on the Beatrixkwartier as a central innovation district at the request of the municipality of The Hague. For this advice, we were invited by the O-team to conduct design research, with a focus on a sustainable and innovative design of the Utrechtsebaan and its surroundings.

The future vision for the Beatrixkwartier is a mixed business district with metropolitan living. An area of high-density activity, mixing of functions, facilities and space for meeting. Ideally, the Utrechtsebaan will eventually transform from a polluter to a sustainable generator for urban development by means of an enclosure with a green facilities park on top.

The assignment from the O-team

Enclosuring the A12-Utrechtsebaan has major advantages. It makes it possible to break down a major barrier in the city, improve air quality, limit traffic noise and create space for new homes and workplaces. This new large open space is conceived as a park that can provide air to the city. The big question is: what kind of park will it be and for whom?

The design process

We answered this open and complex question through a quick and thorough design process. We also looked at options in the field of climate adaptation and energy transition. We received help in this from the expert bureau IF Technology in the field of renewable energy and from the expert bureau Greenpass in the field of climate adaptation. With their assistance, we investigated the opportunities for a new urban forest with new homes and workplaces in the Beatrixkwartier.

A city forest for the neighborhood

An important condition for a city forest is the introduction of many trees in a careful selection of species. Such an urban forest provides cooling, enhances biodiversity and offers opportunities for education. It improves the fine-meshed network of pedestrians and connects the bicycle network to the north and south of the Utrechtsebaan. It functions as a neighborhood park for both residents and office workers and increases the quality of stay of the entire Beatrixkwartier. It is a space where you can slip away from the hustle and bustle to take a break or go for a walk.

A colorful world of ecology, education and energy

Our design for the urban forest is organized in a tight grid that opens up at strategic places. Footpaths converge on the open spaces where small-scale programs such as a playground or a kiosk with a terrace are located. A bench with thermal energy storage, that cools in the summer and heats in the winter, meanders diagonally through the park as a tangible reference to the energy transition. Under the treetops you cycle through different colorful worlds of Sweet Cherry, Silver Linden, Tree Hazel, Swedish Birch and Hawthorn.

Next steps

The O-team has presented the rich bouquet of ideas and solutions to the municipality of The Hague. The core of their advice is that densification, sustainability and greening is a trinity, which you must apply at the same time. A green design is good for climate adaptation and biodiversity and also has a socio-economic value. The Municipality of The Hague is incorporating our design research into the further development of the Beatrixkwartier.