Compact Format for Living – Nine Studios in Utrecht

Studios Utrecht by Urban Matter - street view Studios Utrecht by Urban Matter street view close up AWG 3 AWG 4 AWG 5
Studios Utrecht by Urban Matter street view

Urban Matter designed this studio apartment building for a local private developer in Utrecht as part of a neighborhood regeneration project. The program includes three levels of rental studios above ground floor commercial space. Responding to a growing demand for compact rental studios Urban Matter explored in-depth the idea of a compact inner city format for living.

Studios Utrecht by Urban Matter street view close up

Optimizing the natural light conditions was one of the design strategies to achieve a high level of comfort in these affordable rental studios. Creating high corner openings extends the inside living to the street and makes it feel bigger and lighter. To compensate minimal storage facilities in the studios, each of them was given a storage box at ground level near the main entrance. Consistent with the neighborhood profile, mixed use commercial functions activate the plinth in day and evening times.



The project is located on the Amsterdamsestraatweg street that stretches north from the center of Utrecht to its outskirts. The linear development of the street comes with a sequence of small side squares in a recognizable pattern of public spaces. The project is part of one of these squares and seeks to enhance the qualities of its public domain.



This connection between building and square defines the quality of the place. Urban Matter made a clear choice by turning the building to face the square and by activating the street level. To achieve this orientation and to accommodate three studios per floor the building is slightly cantilevering above the square. With the increased volume it takes the role of a new landmark element complementing the square.



Southern orientation, good views from the studios, extra thermal isolation and low energy use contribute to the comfort of living despite of the small size of the apartments.

By optimizing the contextual conditions and by applying efficient building organization Urban Matter achieved a high density mixed use project with three compact studios per floor.

The project makes the best out of a small plot of land and proves that the concept of compact format for living can be realized without making many compromises.

Project data:


Name: Compact Format for Living - Nine Studios in Utrecht
Team: Jasper Hermans, Alexander Chemyakin
Program: apartments, ground level commercial space
Construction Area: total 500 m2
Location: Utrecht, The Netherlands
Project year: 2008
Client: Local private developer
Photographs and images: Urban Matter
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+31 (0) 6 146 56 641
info@urbanmatter.nl