The Active Matrix

Project Data
First Prize: Europan 3 International Competition

Municipality of Groningen
180 housing units
22,530 m2 retail space
Site area
2 ha

Project overview
S333 took first prize in this Europe-wide competition to create high-density mixed-use solutions for a marginal zone, occupied by abandoned warehouses, factories and car parks, lying between the historic 17th Century city centre and a 1930s residential district. The competition called for the creation of links across this zone, with a variety of housing types and tenures. It is also part of a larger and distinct urban ring around the city centre, created accidentally by the redevelopment of the old city walls.

S333’s solution comprised a mixture of independent units assembled around patios spaces and winter gardens, woven into a series of bands that differentiate the site into areas of public, private and collective spaces.

Key elements such as cafes, shops, a theatre, a healthcare centre, and supermarket are positioned to encourage social, cultural and economic are located strategically on established ‘desire lines’ linking existing movement flows and view corridors, to catalyse urban regeneration over time.

The Europan 3 Jury wrote:

"It is convincingly proved that the existing loose conglomeration of buildings in a heterogeneous urban design structure offers possibilities for creating a new, up-to-date complexity."

Following its Europan 3 win, S333 was commissioned to develop the urban principles for a mixed-use regeneration project on the CiBoGa terrain, a 14 ha post-industrial site that included the competition site. Then in 1998, S333 were commissioned as architect for Schots 1 + 2, the first phase of the new development. Schots 1 + 2 was completed in 2003.

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