Noordwestcluster site redesign

Utrecht University is constructing an inspirational, accessible and sustainable campus here. The renovated Noordwestcluster has pedestrian priority and cyclists at its centre, with cars playing second fiddle.

This public space is enlivened by the attractions of inviting pavement cafés, stimulating habitable spaces and bountiful greenery. Its guiding principle is sustainability, from reusing materials to limiting paved surfaces as much as possible. Finally the typical Utrecht Science Park image appears: grass up to the façade with tree groups and free-standing trees.


At the Noordwestcluster site, 59 trees are planted, some in an adult size, others slightly younger. Of these trees, 13 trees are planted to compensate for the trees that had to be cut before the site redesign.

Step by step

The complete site redesign of the Noordwestcluster will pass through seven steps until early 2019.

Step 1: area surrounding the Minnaert building

Now that the area near the Minnaert building has been repaved, outdoor furniture has been brought in to create an inviting terrace. Besides that, the route to the main entrance has been moved for the purpose of the creation of a logistical route from the bus stop and the centre region of the Utrecht Science Park - after the completion of step 7.

Removal of the bicycle-parking spaces in front of the Buys Ballot Building

With the realisation of the buildings in the North West cluster, as many bicycle-parking spaces as possible have been moved to indoor facilities. This improves the residence space and the security of the area. An example of this is that the construction of the Victor J. Koningsberger building realised an indoor bicycle-parking space to replace the bicycle-parking space below the Minnaert building and the two bicycle-parking spaces in front of the Buys Ballot building. This was done because a different purpose had been found for the location of the bicycle-parking space below the Minnaert building (a grand café) and because the bicycle-parking spaces in front of the Buys Ballot building are outdated and make way for an improved quality of the public space. The two bicycle-parking spaces in front of the Buys Ballot building will be partially removed in step 2 of the area rearrangement of the North West cluster. Users of these bicycle-parking spaces can park their bicycles in the bicycle-parking spaces of the Victor J. Koningsberger building. A small section of the bicycle-parking space in front of the Buys Ballot building will remain operational for employees of SRON.

Step 2: redesign site around Earth Simulation Lab en Vening Meinesz building 

The Earth Simulation Lab is finished and the former construction site has been redesigned. Flowers will be planted along the road at the north side of the building, which will make a positive contribution to the biodiversity in the area.

At the Vening Meinesz building, the entrance area to the main entrance has been renewed. There is a zone with a seating area from the pavement to the entrance. The bike parking in front of the building will be removed. Users of this bicycling parking facility can park their bicycle in the new indoor bicycle shed of the Vening Meinesz building A.

Step 3: parking lot Budapestlaan 

During the summer holiday, the car park between the Freudenthal building and the Botanic Gardens was redesigned, with the entrance and exit relocated to Princetonlaan. Following the renovation, the parking capacity is now back to its original level.

Step 4: repairing asphalt Sorbonnelaan - start autumn 2018

The asphalt at the Sorbonnelaan is being restored. They are still busy planning the execution of this project.      

Step 5: re-pavement site - start autumn 2018

Step 5 mainly concerns the pavement in front of the Caroline Bleeker building and the Buys Ballot building where the parking spaces become clearly visible again. The entrance of the buildings will remain accessible during this re-pavement project. There has been a plan coordinated with the users of the area to ensure that the logistics in the area can be proceeded.

Step 6: Park-like environment around Ketelhuis – early autumn 2018
The area around the Ketelhuis will be redesigned into a park-like setting. The (construction) road to the north side of the Vening Meinesz building will be removed. The ground will then be seeded with grass and various trees will be planted.

Step 7: Leuvenlaan intersection upgrade – early autumn 2018
The Leuvenlaan–Padualaan intersection will be improved. The pedestrian crossing will be moved to the side of Padualaan where the car park is located, thus creating a logical route from the Padualaan bus stop to the Northwest Cluster.

The former car park on Leuvenlaan was used as a depot for the contractor during the renovation work. As a final step, the depot will be dismantled to make way for grass and trees to be planted.