HallO is a new mixed-use development in Utrecht that occupies the former NPD site between the Overvecht retail centre and the green Brailledreef neighbourhood. Designed in collaboration with ZUS and Zecc, the project centres on participation and co-ownership/development with the aim of fostering a strong sense of community and ownership.
The building comprises a continuous plinth topped with three separate housing blocks, each with a distinct identity and programmatic theme. Every block has a different target audience and corresponding concept: one block caters to seniors and those requiring elderly care; the middle block is dedicated to co-housing and collectives; the third block is designed according to the Superlofts concept for starters with a focus on city living. Every block incorporates extra social spaces, light and air through open courtyards, roof terraces and shared living areas.
The plinth measures 180 metres long, 18 metres wide and 6 metres high. Punctuated by generous openings, this flexible space plays a key role in the reactivation of the neighbourhood. During the development process, the Hall will be filled with small-scale, local and socially-focused businesses such as upcyclers and makers, food growers, neighbourhood initiatives and healthcare entrepreneurs hosting yoga classes and life- and career-coaching programmes, home care, physiotherapy.
HallO achieves an EPC of -0.31 and a GPR of 8.56 thanks to the incorporation of a revolutionary geothermal heat pump system called SolarEis. Additionally, rainwater is harvested from the facade and used for irrigation and recycled within greywater circuits. This circular approach is central to the radical separation of the structure and interior: the robust, low-maintenance framework can be flexibly filled in with services and partitions.
Shared car parking is concealed under two blocks. Positioning the car park above ground, instead of underground, lends the space flexibility to adapt functions in the future if necessary, for example with decreasing demand for parking. In this way, the space can be transformed into housing, a skatepark, a museum or art storage or additional ateliers and workspaces.