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Belgian Blue Stone in towns Maastricht
Place de la Gare, Maastricht, Netherlands. Office buildings, shops, restaurants and park.
Architects: Prof. Hans Kollhoff, Helga Timmermann.
Project manager: Markus Tubbesing.

On the left bank of the Meuse, not far from Maastricht station, the Wyck district is a dynamic area where law firms and financial analysts, solicitors’ and architects’ offices, designers and fashion creators stand side by side.

In this location, Belgian Blue Stone has contributed to the expansion of a huge site supervised by the architects Hans Kollhoff and Helga Timmermann. With a total area of 30,670 m² the project comprises 2,400 m² dedicated to shops, restaurants and the business centre, 18,000 m² of office and workshop space, a 300 space underground car park directly connected to the business centre and 6,500 m² of gardens.

The unit comprises two 5 storey buildings running lengthwise and a 16 storey tower block. All the buildings have a roof garden. An arcade 7 metres up connects these structures to each other.

A dialogue between the old and the new town

The privileged position of this district close to the station has meant that it has developed in just a few years and is experiencing rapid expansion. The connection with the station is a tiered structure running alongside the tracks, which is reflected in the similarly tiered outline of the station building. The new building rises to a height of 56 m in relationship with the new developments of the city. It thus creates a visual contact with other high-rise buildings further to the west, but also with the tall buildings of the old town.

The new development therefore forms a bridge across the centuries as well as linking together the two parts of the city

This intention also finds many further expressions in the design of the actual building. One example is to be found at the top of the high-rise where a sort of pavilion is decorated with a spandrel referring to the Baroque and classical architecture of the historical town.
The same applies to the choice of materials. The linearity of the general outline of the building is broken by a sort of complex “scaffolding” made of brick and Belgian Blue Stone facings which are extremely traditional materials. This presentation where bluestone has pride of place, gives an astonishing density to the entire development. That imposing character is to be found again in the succession of precast concrete columns.

The frames of the store windows and entrances are designed just like so many bronze armatures with powerful sections. The brass-coloured aluminium windows on the upper floors are decorated with a steel parapet. This latter parapet, topped by a brass section, presents a surface layer of anthracite-coloured iron.

A square has been created, on the south side of the station, between the 3 to 4 storey residential buildings and the new buildings. It includes a spacious garden, which covers the underground car park and stretches as far as the foot of the high-rise forming the southern boundary of the district. At the centre of this garden a fountain gushes.

All the pedestrian entrances pass under the succession of columns and form a spectacular approach to the ambitious office block. The entrances are dressed with blue-grey marble.

Finally, if we had to sum up the most original features of this contemporary building, which takes on the appearances of a traditional construction, it would be worth emphasising the successful overall alternation of blue stone and brick finishing of the spandrel, as well as the precast concrete columns where they too reflect the colours of blue stone.

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