Studio Woodroffe Papa was commissioned to develop the urban principles for a mixed-use regeneration project on the CiBoGa terrain, a 14 ha post-industrial site on the edge of the Groningen city centre. The project has since become a Dutch national pilot scheme for sustainable urban renewal.
Situated on the old ramparts of the city and historically a place of transition and movement, the site called for a different design approach to form public and communal spaces that could deliver both urban character and suburban qualities.
The two urban blocks deliver an extensive range of housing types that vary according to orientation, access and physical relations to adjacent buildings. The blocks are 'opened up' to form a sequence of inter-connected collective 'parochial' spaces that range from courtyards and roof terraces to belvederes, courtyards and private gardens. The multi-layering of activities and landscape offers an alternative to the interiorised and hermetic world of the traditional urban block.
To create a vibrant neigbbourhood centre with amenities and civic plazas, retail and commercial space are introduced into the project, seamlessly tucked underneath a stepped ground surface. Above the retail space, housing with their own private front doors is accessed by a multi-levelled collective courtyard space that makes a seamless transition from the street to the upper levels.