Spazio

de Architekten Cie. as Architects

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.

Shopping area Spazio

Architectenweb Magazine as Publishers

Zoetemeer has outgrown its city centre. Ten years ago a new urban plan (OMA,1996) was introduced to strengthen the image of Zoetemeer and enlarge the heart of the city, so that it could again have enough capacity for the number of inhabitants. The plan is a proposal to expand the centre both to the east and the west. At the time of writing the centre expansion on the west side has already been finished. Architecten Cie. realised an urban ensemble between the original centre and the public transport junction Centrum West. The new shopping Centre Spazio is an important addition to the existing city centre of Zoetemeer, because of its dynamic mixed use of shopping, living and catering facilities. It also has an important gateway function for the area because of its strategic location. The whole operation is contained in a compact plot of one hectare. The first two levels have an extra floor height and are intended for shops. A walkway intersects the shopping area and connects directly with the surrounding shopping streets of the city centre. There are three residential towers and an office building situated on the corners of that commercial disk. The dynamics of the building are increased by activating as much wall surface as possible. The outer facades contain the entrance halls of the residences, a strip of desk offices, residential services and shops. A striking circular ‘UFO’ hovers in the middle of the of the planning area: Spazio’s trade mark. It forges the sectioned square together at a higher level. A gym resides in the UFO high above the shopping public. An area on the roof of the shopping centre next to the gym is reserved for sport and recreation. Hopefully for the residents of the tower it will already be necessary to use the space in the near future, so that the quality of the view can be transformed from a roof landscape to a sport paradise.

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