New ‘Spazio’ shopping area vitalizes Zoetermeer
Zoetermeer’s urban centre has outgrown itself. Not only has the town centre become too small for the number of inhabitants, but this ‘new town’ was also seriously affected by the lack of urbanity and character. In order to improve this situation, OMA drafted an urban plan (1996) with the objective of reinforcing the urban profile. This plan proposes an expansion of the centre in two directions: on its west and east flanks.
The westward expansion of the centre has now been completed: a new urban ensemble – Spazio – enriches Zoetermeer’s town centre with a dynamically mixed programme of shops, residential accommodation, offices and business space, restaurants and cafés, and high-quality amenities. As a link between the original centre and the Centrum West public transport hub, Spazio serves as an important ‘gateway’ for the area.
This mixed urban programme was realized within a compact, one-hectare square: there are two extra-high shopping levels on the ground floor and the first floor, three residential towers and a slab of offices rising skyward at its corners, and an eye-catching, circular ‘UFO’ in the middle. Maximum vitality is achieved by activating every side, including the retail deck. A promenade, accessible from the car park, cuts across the shopping area and connects directly to the surrounding shopping streets in the town centre. The outer elevations hold the entrance halls for the residential blocks, service functions, the housing service centre, a series of apartments and shops. The UFO, Spazio’s logo, is the central point. It welds the bisected square back together at a higher level. Hinting towards the cult status of sport, the UFO - high above the shopping public - is occupied by a fitness centre. Following on from this, space on the roof – highly visible from the residential towers – has been reserved for sport and recreation, with a view to the future. With these exceptional qualities, Spazio far surpasses the average, making Zoetermeer ‘well worth a detour’ from now on.