Catalyst of Innovation in Utrecht
The Werkspoorkathedraal used to be the centre of the whole Werkspoorkwartier and that’s still the case today. It is a great example of a successful conversion from industrial heritage to bustling event venue. Anyone who enters the building through its massive doors will agree: something great was created here.
Creative, circular hub
Following the example of other industrial, creative breeding grounds in cities around the world, 2016 marked the year of the development of the Utrecht equivalent: the Werkspoorkwartier. In the previous century, this industrial site was the scene of unremitting labour for decades, but after the decrease of the steel industry the site was vacant for a long time. The Werkspoorkathedraal, then the beating heart of the industrial site, has risen from the ashes as an event venue. It’s the absolute highlight of the area and it has made a name for itself as a fantastic event venue in the Randstad.
In the coming years, the area will continue to be developed into – in line with the spirit of the times – a creative, circular hub. A mix of artists, students, entrepreneurs and developers have already taken up residence or will soon move in new, circular buildings or restored industrial heritage. This success is largely due to the efforts of the Werkspoorkathedraal and the people behind it.
The Machine Hall
The factory hall is a great example of a successful conversion from industrial heritage to bustling event venue. Anyone who enters the building through its massive doors will agree: something great was created here.
When there’s no event going in, the immensity of the hall is clearly noticeable. With a ceiling as high as 20 meters and no less than 5800 square meters of floor space in the Apparatenhal (Machine Hall), the official name of the central hall, hosting events for up to 3500 people is no problem. That capacity is often reached: the Werkspoorkathedraal is a popular destination for events and already organized some big events such as The Ocean Cleanup. The size of the venue makes it easily scalable as well: bringing in a couple of sea containers or food trucks is easy, as is creating a few different areas inside the hall to create smaller, more intimate event spaces. This flexibility is an important spearhead of the venue, because they want to be accessible for everyone who matches well with the Werkspoorkathedraal.
Monk Architects was responsible for the design of the conversion of the Werkspoorkathedraal, from dilapidated factory hall to fantastic event venue. They managed to seamlessly connect the past and the present.
Authentic elements were kept as much as possible. Massive steel beams that carry the roof were kept intact and unworked. Beautiful details, sometimes with a little rust on it, are visible everywhere and tell the story of the rich history of this venue. That history is an important element of the experience the Werkspoorkathedraal offers. It’s tangible and, because of those details, even visible. Combined with the large glass façade on the backside, this makes the once dark and dusty factory hall feel very light and pleasant today.
Across the whole left side is now a series of offices, with big windows on both sides to stimulate transparency – another important spearhead of the Werkspoorkathedraal. Monk Architects were so excited about this project, they decided to take up residency in of these offices as well. They’re now neighbours with the team.
Though the Apparatenhal remains the main destination for large events, the Werkspoorkathedraal has more to offer. The Wasruimte (Washing Space), right next to the Apparatenhal, is completely renovated and now ready to be used as a break-out space or as a location for smaller events (up to 150 people). Here, too, Monk Architects understood very well the importance of keeping industrial heritage intact while making it suitable for modern events. The original white tiles and washtubs were kept, but the space was otherwise finished with a nice, clean touch – in style with the big hall. Behind the Apparatenhal, which borders on the Amsterdam-Rhine canal, a terrace was created. This space is also available for events to increase the capacity a little bit.
The Werkspoorkathedraal has become a leading destination for big events in the Randstad in a very short time – and for good reason. The initial plan – the redevelopment of the entire Werkspoorkwartier, with the Werkspoorkathedraal as its highlight – has been achieved. More than that. Thanks to the Werkspoorkathedraal, the whole area has come to life again, and the development is far from done.
Apparatenhal (Machine Hall)
With a ceiling as high as 20 meters and no less than 5800 square meters of floor space in the Apparatenhal (Machine Hall), hosting events for up to 3500 people is no problem.
Wasruimte (Washing Space)
The Wasruimte (Washing Space) is completely renovated and now ready to be used as a break-out space or as a location for smaller events (up to 150 people). The original white tiles and washtubs were kept, but the space was otherwise finished with a nice, clean touch – in style with the big hall.
3534 AP Utrecht