MVRDV and Jaarbeurs have designed a new master plan and green roof for Utrecht’s exhibition, event, and conference center in the Netherlands. MVRDV founding partner Winy Maas described the project's goal as creating “a garden in the city.” The new Jaarbeurs is designed to be a sustainable building that opens in all directions, and an accessible green roof will descend to ground level via cascading terraces.
Focusing on sustainability and quality of life, the new venue aims to foster change for an area currently dominated by logistics, cars, and parking spaces. After a two-year process, Jaarbeurs and MVRDV are now launching their plan for a 120,000 m2 venue on the existing Jaarbeurs site to the west of Utrecht’s central station, forming the heart of a larger 600,000 m2 masterplan to transform the under-utilized area at the station’s rear. A new rooftop park is created for the green roof, where a carpet of programmable 'squares' and gardens will offer space for urban nature, events, recreation, water storage, and energy generation.
As the team explains, alongside its event halls, the masterplan also shows the ground floor of Jaarbeurs hosting functions such as hospitality, shops, and offices. A car-free street, the “Jaarbeurs Boulevard”, cuts through the site, serving as the neighbourhood’s backbone and connecting to the Merwede Canal. The design is pursuing BREEAM-Excellent certification.
“It is rare that a private party not only invests in its own building, but also includes the environment in its plans,” says Winy Maas. “This master plan shows that Jaarbeurs is passionate about the city and dares to think outside the box. This is desperately needed, because this underutilized area has the potential to become a fantastic neighbourhood with the venue as its core – an attractive green ‘hill’ in the city. The plan is also an opportunity to significantly improve the city and properly connect the centre, the station area, the Merwede Canal zone, and the Kanaleneiland.”
The green roof announcement begins the next phase in the development of Jaarbeurs. Working with the municipality of Utrecht, the plan will now be elaborated, with the inclusion of a participatory process consulting local residents, sports clubs, entrepreneurs, and other stakeholders in the neighborhood. The construction of Jaarbeurs exhibition, event, and conference centre is expected to start in 2023. The masterplan for the Jaarbeursdistrict is developed in cooperation with SITE Urban Development.
News via MVRDV