A trio of high rises are expected to outreach Utrecht, Netherlands’ tallest building and be a beacon of sustainable urban living in the historic city. The MARK Vertical Village, designed by a consortium of architects and developers, won a recent high-rise development contest and the team plans to break ground starting in 2021.

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The residential buildings will surround an urban forest and feature extensive greenhouses at their pinnacles. Urban agriculture will also be integrated into every level, making fresh fruits and vegetables widely available to all residents and dramatically reducing their food chain and carbon footprint. The buildings themselves will be climate neutral, meaning their everyday operation will not emit greenhouse gases. This is an important feat, considering buildings and construction account for nearly 40 percent of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions.

Related: “Vertical village” built almost entirely of wood to rise in Paris

diagram of programming for high-rise towers

In addition to biodiversity, the complex also encourages social and economic diversity. About 60 percent of the residences will be reserved for renters, with the remaining available for ownership or senior housing with at-home care options. The more than 1,125 residences will be listed at a variety of rent scales, which aims to address rising concerns about affordable housing in the city.

diagram of sustainable features integrated in high-rise towers

In response to frequent criticism that high-rise living generally promotes feelings of isolation, the MARK purposely encourages a collective lifestyle and sense of community. The design features numerous communal spaces such as restaurants, pools, shared laundry facilities, gyms, work spaces and artist studios. Residents will also have extensive bike facilities and a fleet of 100 shared cars.

side drawing of three high-rise towers

Construction for the innovative high-rise complex is expected to finish in 2023. The three buildings will be 80 meters (262 feet), 100 meters (328 feet) and 140 meters (459 feet), which is 28 feet higher than Utrecht’s current tallest building — the Dom Tower.

rendering of people walking through leafy area with tall towers ahead of them

“We all realize that if we build something higher than the Dom Tower, it also has to become something special,” chief architect Alderman Klaas Verschuure said in a statement.

The Netherlands-based consortium of architects, designers and developers behind the project includes Karres en Brands, Stadswaarde, Koopmans Bouwgroep, J.P. van Eesteren, KCAP; Geurst and Schulze.


Images via Karres en Brands, Studio A2 Vero Visuals, de Architekten Cie, KCAP and Geurst & Schulze