Werkspoor Area Utrecht

The Werkspoor area is Utrecht's most striking example of the 'Always Present Area'. Today, no one knows why it is still there, while a hundred years ago it used to function as vital hub for the city. Let's not forget that it was Werkspoor' heavy industry that worked for the first time as a 24hour economy within the limits of Utrecht.
Within the Werkspoor Area, a lot of energetic organizations are at work already, most of which are part of the Cartesius Museum network. This network brings companies, organizations, knowledge and culture together by means of open knowledge exchange and communication. All of the participants of the network are set to find new and sustainable innovations for urban society.

In 2012 the city council of Utrecht formulated a development vision document for the area. Because of the development of 'Leidsche Rijn' -the newly built 'vinex-wijk'- the Werkspoor area got a far more central location, geographically, in the city. As a result, it was less accessible by car. Due to these two factors, the area transformed, not only offering space for large-scale industry, but also facilitating small-scale and creative industry.

In the development strategy, the city acknowledged the self-transforming capabilities of the area, and thus it should revive according to a process-based approach. Furthermore, emphasis shouldn't only be on economic and financial values, but immaterial impulses and merits should be leading in the revitalization process too. So the city decided not to work with a master-plan, but take on step after another, taking time to evaluate each intervention in order to conceive the next.

As one of three concrete steps to take, the city council explicitly mentions the need for a gathering space for creative entrepreneurs, one that is vital to the image of the Werkspoor area.

Co-operation Cartesius / Cartesius Laboratory #2
24.05.2014 @ Cartesius
13.00 - 17.30

Photo by Hanne Nijhuis.

Een tijdreis-ervaring over werken, leven en leren in 2040! In het kader van de Culturele Zondag; De Stad, de Toekomst.

Co-Operation Cartesius
De theatrale audiotour Co-operation Cartesius leidt de toeschouwer door de toekomst van het nieuwe werken. Cartesius Laboratory #2 blikt juist terug, en kijkt verder vooruit dan 2040.

Levert de fitness in 2040 de energie voor onze 3D printer? Hoeveel vierkante meter is er nodig voor een werkplek inclusief lunchtuintje? Is knippen en scheren straks een keuzemenu op je telefoon? Onder andere Nutrecht, Protospace, All Inn fitness & health en Stichting de Schaverij openen hun deuren. Neem je smartphone en headset mee en wandel door het Cartesiusgebied anno 2040.
info: Zaterdag 24 mei vanaf station Zuilen doorlopend tussen 13.00-15.30 uur. De audiotour eindigt in de Werkspoorkathedraal (Tractieweg 41).

Cartesius Laboratory #2
Na het doorkruisen van het Cartesiusgebied kom je thuis in de Werkspoorkathedraal. Daar staat naast een kleine versnapering ook dichter Ruben van Gogh voor je klaar; hij neemt je mee op een reis naar het midden van de 20ste eeuw – de tijd dat het Werkspoor donderde van de industriële arbeid. Die is al lang weg. Hoe dat ging en wat er voor in de plaats kwam, en gaat komen? Dat wordt uit de doeken gedaan door Pauline Terreehorst, directeur van Futura Plaza. Zij verkent de toekomst van het werken in een live essay.
info: Zaterdag 24 mei vanaf 16.00. Einde 17.30 uur.

The fundament for Cooperation Cartesius
We build society together

Expodium and Autobahn proudly present their proposal/plan for the Vlampijpzone OPEN CALL, in the broader context of the development vision of the Werkspoorkwartier
C3L is a concrete proposition from both partners after a two year period of their involvement in Cartesius zone.

Cartesius Lounge1 - LAB2 - Lodge3 [ C3L ] , is a quirky mix of knowledge , urban think tank , neighborhood house , canteen and hotel . A physical playground to test the applicability in the field of artistic research insights, where an interesting interplay between research and implementation occurs.
The aim is to develop a knowledge hub for physical meetings between local, national and international guests who engage in artistic research on urban transformation areas.

The scale of the Cartesius area, located centrally in the Utrecht region, increases the likelihood that multifarious initiatives strengthen one and other in the development and research process through A cooperative franchise structure. We are gonna build this new identity together!
C3L is a blistering test case of DIY democracy; the place that offers what Utrecht lacks of so far. With C3L, Utrecht takes an extra step in the direction of the international knowledge and cultural city it wants to be. But most importantly, this is not only a testing ground for horizontal urban Utrecht, but for the whole of the Netherlands as well.

Through a cultural program ( place-making ) with place -specific interventions , exhibitions , " a living archive " , film screenings , workshops , bootcamps and participation in local cultural events (e.g.. Day of Architecture , Cultural Sunday , Open Flame Pipe Zone) C3L will generate cumulative knowledge about the specific circumstances and challenges of the area . We seek simultaneously for the new role and relationship of actors in urban development.

While we confidently wait for the result of the OPEN CALL, we encourage you to check the full proposal (in Dutch) bellow.


CARTESIUS LABORATORY (CL) is a space of research, knowledge exchange, experimentation, innovating thinking and doing IN and FOR Cartesius. It runs parallel and facilitates the revitalization of the area through the contribution of national and international experts from various fields of practice (urban thinkers, artists, philosophers, cultural activists, local initiatives)

CL predominately addresses to all creative, entrepeneurial and organizational forces in Utrecht and internationally, that have the capacity to transmit, absorb and transform knowledge into practice and solid outcomes. At the same time, it focuses on the implementation of the local network within the “making” process.

With the help of the aligned forces of Cartesius Tafel, CL guarantees to physically and intellectually place Cartesius on the Cultural map of the Netherlands and highlight Cartesius’ cultural and commercial prospects.

Check our CARTESIUS LABORATORY TUMBLR too for more background information, events and program details.

Cartesius Laboratory #01

An event in the context of the Day of Architecture, in collaboration with Architectuurcentrum Aorta


On the Day of Architecture, Expodium teamed up with Autobahn, Kapitaal, Zuilen Museum, IJzersterk and LunaWorx and other partners of CAMU (Cartesius Museum) on a full day activities at the 'Werkspoor Cathedral' in the Cartesius area.
The program included an exhibition, an historical insight into the area, a book launch of the new Expodium locatie:KANALENEILAND publication, lectures by Friso Wiersum, Christian Greer and Martijn de Waal, a printing workshop by Kapitaal and a pop-up bookstore.

Click HERE for photo's of the event.