The brief was to create a better connection between the Zaailand, the carnival and market square of Leeuwarden, and the existing shopping routes. The city’s urban design plan provides for a strip of shops and dwellings on the north side of the square, next to the new Fries Museum. This rectangular building block is intended to form a new square wall on one side and define a new street on the other. This new shopping street, along with the existing alleys, is intended to form a new shopping circuit in the city centre.
Because of the narrow dimensions of the strip, creating fronts on two sides proved complicated. The shops are oriented to the street, while the hospitality venues – with broad fronts – and the entrance to the flats above them are located on the square.
On the square the blocks are larger and taller, and they have more glass than on the street side. On the street, the buildings are three storeys high and the parcel size is also smaller. There is a large parking garage under the buildings.
The plan area adjoins the site of the new Fries Museum, designed by Hubert-Jan Henket. The new buildings fit in with the existing urban fabric, in contrast with the new museum, which as a modern solitaire edifice stands apart from the structure of the city. Rather than adapting to the architecture of the museum, the new buildings on the square fit in with the grain, colour and typology of the historic buildings. This allows the new museum to stand out as a contemporary and autonomous object.
[A] Jos van Eldonk
[P] Houses & shops
[G] 10,197 m2
[C] ING Real Estate Development