Client: Hajofi BV
Program: Office entrance and shops
Sector: refurbishment, renovation
Size: small, but complicated
Image credits: reA
The Sint Jacobstraat in the centre of Utrecht has a bit of an offbeat character. The small scale of the traditional inner city has been replaced here in the 1960’s by huge utilitarian blocks, housing offices and big commercial spaces. Most of the structure are outdated. One by one the blocks are renovated, like the Bijenkorf and the former V&D, lifting the quality of the street considerably. The building at number 12-14 is just as huge as its neighbours and also in need of an upgrade. reA is asked to redesign the plinth of this Jacobi building, named after the theatre that used to house in the huge basement. The entrance to the seven office floors above is tucked away in a hard to find corner. A big furniture design store is hidden behind a huge canopy hanging just 2,5 meters above the pavement. The canopy has been removed so the double height plinth façade opens up. By sacrificing one of the smaller retail units a new main entrance is created, improving the accessibility to great extent. The redesign is based on the re-use of former refurbishments, like the glass façade of the plinth that only dates back to 2005. Leaving the line of the canopy as a dominant but redefined element in the façade, the original architecture is respected.