The concealed car park

Province of Utrecht, The Netherlands - Implementation: 1st April 2013


  • Car park size: 3ha
  • Contracting authority: Province of Utrecht, The Netherlands
  • Design: Bureau Parklaan and Paul de Kort
  • Built by: Bam Wegen
  • Car park holds: 250 véhicules individuels, 2 cars, 100 vélos.

Demanding Specification

The car park situated quite a way from the new entrance to fort Vechten was built with a view to the opening in 2015 of the New Dutch Waterline Interpretation Centre, which is expected to attract 100,000 annual visitors. The Specification heavily emphasized the obligation to ensure the archaeological remains from the Roman period were not impacted in any way and that the nature of the concealed military landscape was preserved.

Innovative implementation

The project is extremely subtle and innovative. When the car park is in use the eye is guided towards the fort and casemates. When there are no cars, a series of triangular posts rising out of the ground make it look like a field of “anti-tank obstacles”. The “stork nests” hide the light posts which are amber in colour to avoid disturbing the bats living in the fort. LED lighting installed on the sides of the footpaths guides visitors ensuring their safety when attending events held at night. It is barely visible during the day.

The developments comply with the Cradle to cradle concept.
Consequently, the bicycle park was built with historic concrete piles. The surface of the footpaths contains virtually no cement.
The foundations of the car park are made with recycled gravel from railway lines. The concrete layer on top of the foundations is made up of small square indents filled with crushed brick rubble in the sections where visitors walk. In the car park areas the indents have grass in them.


Positive aspects

The car park received the 2012-2013 A’ Design Award in the “Landscapes and gardens” category. Two years after the car park was built, the position of the “anti-tank obstacles” was changed. This flexibility in terms of use was a key part of the original Specification.