Stroll past architectural hotspots designed by locals

At first glance, they may not catch the eye as easily as the typical architectural landmarks that adorn Maastricht’s city skyline. But just as charming – and possibly even more exciting and surprising – are the architectural gems spread out (and sometimes slightly tucked away) throughout the city.  And the best thing is that quite a few of these places have been designed by people from Limburg – often from Maastricht – and therefore by our very own creators. The architect Nicole Maurer takes you on a tour of some of her favourites.

Jan van Eijck Academie

Jeker quarter

Cultural and architectural vibe in the Jan van Eyck Academy

‘This is our own home base and I think it is one of the most striking buildings in the city. With its unusual shapes and sleek white stucco work with large window panes, it presents a stunning contrast to the historic backdrop of the Jeker quarter. The building was designed in 1958 by the architect Frits Peutz. Years later, in 2013, we were involved in its renovations. That is also the moment we decided to move here from our former office in the station building in Wyck . Inside, the world of art, culture, and architecture come together in a truly amazing way. This produces a very special vibe that we are part of every day.’

The Bassin quayside and the Sphinx quarter

Sphinx quarter

Exhibitions on design and architecture at Bureau Europa

‘This is one of my favourite places to visit for inspiration. They present themselves as a centre for design, architecture, and urban design.  This can also be seen in the changing exhibitions.  For me, this feels like a truly “urban” place with worldly exhibitions that stimulate your mind and portray current affairs from around the globe in an extraordinary manner. We were involved in the renovation of the building that is located in the former showroom of the Netherlands’ first major industrialist Petrus Regout. It is an industrial monument.’

> Visit Bureau Europa

Impressive lookout point from the remnant of the Noorderbrug bridge

‘One place that is still fairly new and a really cool spot in the city is the remnant of the old slipway of the Noorderbrug bridge which has been left standing as a reminder of the past. You can climb up it via the steps for a view of the Frontenpark and the Sphinx quarter. I find the idea behind this alone truly extraordinary. Peter de Ronde, an urban planner from the Municipal Council of Maastricht and the Flemish architect Guy Cleuren were not afraid of making bold choices in this process. Part of the bridge that would normally have been demolished completely has been left standing. I think it’s really cool.’

Photograph: De Griend by Maurer United Architects

Wyck and Céramique

Skate park on the Meuse

‘The skate park at De Griend is one of our designs – our first design for the city of Maastricht when we moved here in 2005. We worked very closely with the skaters themselves to create the design. In a city with pavements that are impossible to skate on (i.e. cobblestones, Ed.), we have incorporated everything in this park that you wouldn’t see on the streets here. This includes smooth concrete, kerbs, slopes, and more so that skaters can skate to their heart’s content.’

Strolling through the gardens of Limburg’s Provincial Government building (+ Ceramique)

The Gouvernement aan de Maas(Provincial Government building) is definitely a favourite architectural landmark. And it stands out in the city’s skyline for a very good reason. It was designed by the architect Gerard Snelder in the early 1980s.  What many people don’t know is that the garden belonging to the provincial government building is also worth a visit. You can take a stroll through it and view the building from various sides. The garden harbours various artworks, mainly from Limburg-based artists. In addition, the approach to it is very interesting if you walk on the eastern side of the Meuse (Wyck) as it takes you past the Céramique district – also known as Maastricht’s architecture district – where you’ll find the iconic Bonnefantenmuseum by the architect Aldo Rossi.’

 

Bold Rooftopbar in Sphinx quarter

Shopping and spotting local designs

According to Nicole, when you go shopping in the city, you’ll also come across some fantastic designs made by Limburg designers. ‘The Limburg designer Maurice Mentjens has designed several unique interiors, including interiors for Kiki Niesten’s two stores in Stokstraat, the Kymyka shoe shop in Minckelersstraat, the Witloof restaurant in Bernardusstraat, and the museum shop and Ipanema restaurant at the Bonnefantenmuseum. You may also come across the work of architectural duo Mourmans & Nypels from Maastricht. They also make some amazing things, which you can see, for example, if you look at the façade of the Wijnhandel Thiessen wine shop on the Grote Gracht.  I’m also a big fan of the designs by Boy Bastiaens. He mainly focuses on designing logos, packaging, and lettering. He has worked for big international brands and names such as Karl Lagerfeld, Philips, and Atelier LaDurance. He also designed our corporate identity and you can also see his designs in Maastricht in the logos of the Muziekgieterij music venue, the Kinsjasa shoe shop, Grivec Bros, (jeans), Maastricht Photofestival (events), and Conflict (design).’

Café Zondag

Drinking, eating, and dancing in a design setting...

Want to take a break from soaking up the architecture for a drink and a bite to eat? Nicole is willing to share a few of her favourites for this too. ‘The Take5 Jazz Café in Bredestraat is definitely one of my favourites because of its creative and worldly ambiance. Café Zondag in Wyck has a similar vibe. Other great places are Marres Kitchen and Bold Rooftopbar on the roof of the Eiffel building in the Sphinx quarter. And, last but not least, the Muziekgieterij pop music venue. In this magical and contemporary “music block” that has been added to the industrial setting of the former Timmerfabriek, you’ll see one of our most recently completed projects in Maastricht that we worked on with a great deal of pleasure.  The Muziekgieterij has a fantastic programme. It’s great for an evening listening to music in an intimate atmosphere or to dance until you drop.’

About Nicole Maurer

Nicole and her husband Marc Maurer are the founders of the firm ‘Maurer United Architects’ with which they later moved to Maastricht. They have been involved in projects such as the renovations of the Muziekgieterij in Maastricht and the Gulpener BrouwLokaal and brewery in Gulpen. They are currently working on a unique project called ‘Superlocal’ in which there is a lot of experimentation with circular building practices.

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