In 2020, it might be real: before class starts, you skim through your lecture notes in the park. Close by, you hear the rushing water of the Jekerbeek. During the break you pick an apple from a tree. And after class you stroll into Maastricht’s lively city centre to have a drink with your college mates.
For almost a century, this was a military garrison area, closed off from the rest of Maastricht. Until 2010, that is, when the garrison closed, and the province, city and university joined forces to redevelop the area. Now, its six acres have been transformed into a public urban parkland. The area has changed to become a unifying force between city and students. It has forged a link between the various parklands of Maastricht and established a green corridor to improve connections between the Meuse and the Jeker valley.
The park features the necessary utilities for a green learning environment. The old animal enclosure will be modernised, the birdhouse furnished with an attractive new plaza. Along the Jeker creek there will be room for ecology, art, food production and participation projects, the Tapijn Garden will be moved and expanded, and a new food plaza and ornamental garden realised. New bikeways and footpaths improve accessibility. And naturally the park will provide room for a number of exercise areas, playgrounds and picknick places, and for walking, roller skating, biking and more. In other words, the Tapijn will become a park for everybody.
– Gerdo van Grootheest, councilor of the Municipality of Maastricht, in De Limburger
The garrison area and parklands have been deeply interwoven, but each has also retained its distinct character. The stony interior of the garrison has been replaced by a green parkland atmosphere, in which the listed garrison buildings have their proper place. To make this happen, non-listed buildings have been torn down. The distinct and original orthogonal garrison structure, however, is retained, as historic reference.
Underground (i.e. underneath the parklands), the disparate old garrison buildings have been connected by a new building: the plinth. Inserting most of its volume below ground has created a maximum of available space for the new public park. On ground level, only one new building is visible, but a striking one, with an all-sided, modern character that smoothly inserts itself between the historical garrison buildings and the park. All buildings have already been put to good use, for education and research purposes, and for start-ups and study space.
– Twan Beurskens, Deputy for the Province of Limburg, newspaper De Limburger
All educational spaces have direct visual contact with the park. For example, the floor of two of the lecture halls extends onto the outer terrace. The large glass walls of the plinth ensure the blending of buildings with the grounds. On top of that, they add an attractive contrast with the closed facades of the garrison buildings. Sloping surfaces in the park design also offer opportunities for a gently and fittingly landscaped bike route across the Jeker and for ample well-integrated parking spaces, all realised with a closed mass diagram.
Title: Campus Barracks of Tapijn - University of Maastricht
Location: Maastricht, NL
Size: 6 ha
Client: Municipality of Maastricht
Contractor: Mertens Bouwbedrijf
Cooperation: LIAG architecten, Jelle de Boer Restauratiearchitect, Frits Bokelman stedenbouw, VIAC installatie adviseurs, DGMR adviseurs, Van Der Ven bouwadvies
Type: European tender, provisional design, final design
Image credits: BoschSlabbers, LIAG architecten
Project code: HT 15-16