. Connecting Tunnel Van Heekgarage | atelier PRO
Connecting Tunnel Van Heekgarage

Underground connection

daylight into the lower parking level

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Connecting Tunnel Van Heekgarage

You are heading for the hospital, feeling tensed and anxious Will there be good news or bad? Your state of mind does not really help you to pass the three minutes through this dark tunnel in the underground parking. Being aware of that we realized that we should not design just a tunnel. We looked for an almost adventourous excitement to add an extra dimension to this underground journey. An ingredient was added to complement the dark robust and tough materials contrasting with the fine white gloss portals. A moving and colouring light scheme (art work by Claudia Wissmann) adds a new virtual dimension to the journey. It has become even agreeable.

In 2003, the largest underground car park in the Netherlands was constructed in the centre of the city of Enschede, designed by atelier PRO. The parking garage for 1700 cars and 1000 bicycles forms part of an urban planning, created by West 8 Urban Design & Landscape Architecture, for the Van Heekplein, a square that houses various large department stores, a casino and other buildings.


To realise a proper survey and orientation, this underground world has been interpreted as a large public space. In the centre of the parking garage, under the Van Heekplein, there is a second square. On this square, the various ‘parking rooms’ are situated, each with their own colour, lighting scheme and lifting points to the shops above. Besides this division in rooms, daylight is brought in near the entrance route and the public lifting points onto the lowest parking layer, to improve the orientation.

Almost a decade later, the decision was made to connect the Van Heek car park with the new hospital Medisch Spectrum Twente (MTS). The starting point of the city council of Enschede, to provide a moving walkway to the MTS, was again translated into an atelier PRO design. Visitors of the MTS, who park their cars in the Van Heek car park, are comfortably led to the hospital by this rolling pathway. Thus, the overcapacity of parking places at the eastern part of the garage near the shopping centre Twentec are utilized.

Click HERE for the full description of the project

Claudia Wissmann Lichtkunst 


  • Exterior (photo: Eva Bloem)
  • atelier PRO
    Stairs (photo: Eva Bloem)
  • Entrance (photo: Eva Bloem)
  • Tapit roulant (photo: Eva Bloem)
  • Tapis roulant (photo: Eva Bloem)
  • Connecting tunnel (photo: Eva Bloem)
  • Connecting tunnel (photo: Eva Bloem)
  • Connecting tunnel (photo: Eva Bloem)
  • atelier PRO
  • Concept portals
  • Floor plan
  • Portals