The Building

De Musketon

Utrecht is dotted with special buildings, which you bike past regularly but know very little about. Take the multifunctional 1980s building in the centre of Lunetten: De Musketon.

According to almost everyone who lives there, Lunetten is a great place to live. It’s a town in its own right, with a mix of residents and most of all: it’s very green. A ‘lunette’ is part of a fortress, and refers to the 1970s design of the area. It doesn’t sprawl in all directions, but is neat and compact. In its centre, the buildings cosily overlap each other, with the odd gateway and a water feature.
De Musketon Theatre is much the same: segregated sections that have evolved organically to form a single entity. The building has a hint of classicism, with arches, pillars, tympanums (triangles), and small, round windows, not always symmetrically placed. The architect, Peter Strijker, worked closely with the residents, because De Musketon is not just a theatre. It’s the multifunctional hub of this neighbourhood, and houses a community centre, a library and a youth centre.

Strijker gained his experience of designing new housing in Lelystad, a city that features the same kind of compact housing estates as Lunetten – known in architectural terms as structuralism. De Musketon dates from 1985, and its alleyways, height differences, randomly placed front doors, repetitious volumes, solo conservatories, concrete, conversation pits around a fireplace, or in other words with its intimacy, all fit in perfectly. But the shrouded classic style also paved the way for a more modern era: in the 1980s, architectural structuralism made way for post-modernism.

In 2023, the municipal heritage department requested listed monument status for De Musketon. Designs for modernising the building are currently being developed. A group of local residents are providing input, just like when it was first built. This group is called Samen Musketon (Musketon Together), a name that reflects the members’ intentions and could be applied to the Lunetten neighbourhood as a whole. It’s this feeling of togetherness that makes Lunetten such a great place to live.

 

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