Startblok - a social living project for integration

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Startblok - a social living project for integration

Mismatches Cultural suitability Vulnerable groups
Policies and regulations Governance
Promotion and production Self-management

Main objectives of the project

Startblok is a housing project for young refugees who have recently received their residence permit (status-holders) and for young persons from the Netherlands. Pursuing a diverse community, a self-management governance and an affordability scheme opens the door to an innovative integration project in Amsterdam. A former sports-grounds next to the A10 highway in Amsterdam New West has been transformed into this pioneer housing project, aiming for a better understanding of social housing, mixture and community.

Date

  • 2015: Construction

Stakeholders

  • Promotor: Key
  • Constructor: Municipality of Amsterdam

Location

Continent: Europe
City: Amsterdam
Country/Region: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Description

Startblok Riekerhaven is a collaborative housing initiative established by de Key in partnership with the municipality of Amsterdam and Socius Wonen. On July 1, 2016, the inaugural residents received keys to their new homes at Startblok Riekerhaven. Since its inception, fostering a sense of community has been paramount within this project. Residents are empowered to manage their own living spaces, with every aspect of Startblok designed to encourage effort and initiative from its inhabitants. Comprising 405 living spaces across 22 corridors, most of which feature communal living rooms, Startblok caters to young refugees with permanent residence permits as well as other Dutch youth, facilitating integration and interaction among them. Applicants must be between 18 and 27 years old, with all status holders engaged in language courses and either internships or vocational training, alongside access to on-site psychological services.

Of the more than 400 living spaces, 303 are private studios equipped with individual facilities, while 102 are private rooms within apartments with shared amenities. Studios, averaging 23m2, boast personal kitchens and bathrooms and are clustered with 16 to 31 other residents, fostering socialization in communal areas. Meanwhile, the apartments include 42 units for two persons and six for three persons, with private bedrooms spanning approximately 12m2 or 14m2 and shared living rooms around 25m2. Rent prices, ranging from 350 to 430 Euros per month, significantly undercut the Amsterdam average.

Outdoor facilities at Startblok encompass sports fields and a clubhouse, with residents actively involved in creating BBQ areas, a swimming pool, and tending to vegetable gardens. Additionally, communal spaces are designed to facilitate socializing and organizing activities, with residents able to seek budgetary and organizational support from the Startblok Actief! foundation, managed by residents themselves.

Central to Startblok's ethos is its self-management governance model. Each corridor is overseen by one or two Hallway Managers responsible for maintaining communal areas and organizing activities, serving as the primary point of contact for residents in need. Five Social Managers ensure active engagement among residents and uphold standards of hygiene, safety, and livability. A general management team, composed of residents, handles accountability and day-to-day operations.

WoZoCo

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WoZoCo

Policies and regulations
Urban Design
Promotion and production
Ownership and tenure

Main objectives of the project

The client, a large housing corporation, wanted 100 units for elderly people with a gallery-type circulation. The units however did not fit the site in an acceptable way. A half joking solution whereby the houses that would not fit inside the gallery block were glued to the outer side of the volume drew attention and was developed.

Date

  • 1997: Construction

Stakeholders

  • Architect: Nathalie de Vries
  • Architect: Winy Maas
  • Architect: Jacob van Rijs

Location

Continent: Europe
City: Amsterdam
Country/Region: Netherlands

Description

To maintain adequate sunlight in the surrounding buildings, only 87 of the 100 units could be realized within the slab. Where could the remaining 13 dwellings be positioned? If they were put elsewhere on the site, the open space would be further reduced. A deeper slab with narrower units did not seem possible. The North-South orientation of the block meant that the generator had to be a 7.20 meter module. By ?cantilevering? the remaining 13 units from the north façade, they are literally suspended in the air. The hanging East-West orientated types complete the North-South dwellings in the block with a view over the adjacent meadow. An economic layout for the main slab could lead to savings of 7 to 8% of the cost, enough to compensate for the 50% more expensive hanging units.
The Spartan gallery flat becomes acceptable. Each gallery is given a different perspective. By changing window positions, balcony sizes and varying balcony materials, the different flats acquire their own character. With the party walls constructed 8 cm thicker than structurally necessary (for sound insulation) it became possible to use this extra thickness for the connection of the cantilever trusses without having to increase the weight of the load-bearing walls.When the project was completed, we were told, that we had realized the social housing project with the lowest building-costs in Amsterdam (applause). Almost 10 years later, averagely 2-3 touring-cars and numerous taxi s and rent-a-bikes with architectural tourist now visit the outskirts of the so called western garden cities to see the hanging houses of Amsterdam.

Haarlemmer Houttuinen Housing

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Haarlemmer Houttuinen Housing

Mismatches
Financing
Urban Design

Main objectives of the project

The primary objectives of the Haarlemmer Houttuinen Housing project in Amsterdam were to establish a lively and community-focused environment. Architect Hertzberger aimed to create an intimate, pedestrian-friendly street, limiting access to residents' vehicles. The design prioritized fine-tuned scale, fostering a sense of community, and incorporating distinctive architectural elements to enhance the unique character of the residential quarter.

Date

  • 1987: Construction

Stakeholders

  • Architect: Herman Hertzberger

Location

Continent: Europe
City: Amsterdam
Country/Region: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Description

The Haarlemmer Houttuinen Housing in Amsterdam is squeezed between a busy main road and railway to the north and Haarlemmerstraat to the south. The north block was built by Hertzberger, the one to the south by the architects Van Herk & Nagelkerke. The two blocks are separated by a pedestrian street connected to Haarlemmerstraat by two gateway buildings also designed by Van Herk.

Hertzberger s housing block has projecting piers with balconies that give rhythm to the street. Each pier marks the entrance to four maisonettes and supports the balcony of the upper two. All entrances to the dwellings are off the street and balconies and gardens overlook it. Fine-tuning of scale is

achieved by tiles in the centre of the lintels and the granite pads supporting them, and by the different sized square windows which syncopate rhythms and let in light along the ceilings where window heads have been kept closed to give intimacy within.

Hertzberger wanted the new street to be a lively community area. The street is accessible only to residents cars and delivery vehicles. With the street closed to general motorised traffic and measuring only 7 metres in width, an unusually narrow profile by modern standards, a situation is created reminiscent of the old city. Street furnishings such as lights, bicycle racks, low fencing and public benches are distributed in such a way that the passage of traffic is obstructed with only a few parked cars. Some trees are planted to form a centre halfway between the two street sections. The lower maisonettes can be entered from their tiny gardens in the street, while the upper units can be reached by external stairs to a shared landing at first floor level, where the front doors are. While the extended block on the north side of the street provides shelter from the busy main road and railway behind it, the south-side block is one storey lower to allow the sun to shine in the street. In this respect, the scheme reinstates the original function of the street as a place where local residents can meet. Streets which no longer serve exclusively as traffic thoroughfares are increasingly seen on the new housing estates and in urban renewal projects. The interests of pedestrians are being taken into consideration, and with the recognition of the woonerf as a street space in a residential area where pedestrians enjoy legal protection against traffic, they are slowly regaining their rightful ground. The decision to reserve a strip 27 metres wide fl anking the railway for traffic purposes forced Hertzberger to build up to this imposed limit of alignment. As a result there was no room on this side for back gardens, which might in fact have been permanently in the shade. Unfavourable factors such as undesirable orientation and traffic noise meant that the north side would have to accommodate the rear wall, and so automatically all emphasis came to lie on the street side which faces south. The north side has no entrances or balconies. The long, continuous rear wall forms a sort of city wall marking the limits of the residential quarter and setting it apart from the railway viaduct, the open area beyond and the harbour in the

distance. In order to involve the rear view in the architecture, the upperstorey dwellings were given bay windows. These are the only plastic features in an otherwise unarticulated wall.

Verdana Blok K

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Verdana Blok K

Urban Design Environments Quality Liveability

Main objectives of the project

Blok K, part of the Het Funen master plan by Architecten Cie, consists of ten houses organized in a "back-to-back" typology. The apartments have their entries through a central aisle, eliminating the need for storage spaces on the facades. By slightly rotating the aisle and directing it towards open spaces between the blocks, a public shortcut and diagonal vista are created. Each house is unique, with apartments spanning two to four stories and ranging from 140 to 180 m², but they form a cohesive whole.

Date

  • 2009: Construction

Stakeholders

  • Architect: NL Architects

Location

Continent: Europe
City: Amsterdam
Country/Region: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Description

Blok K or Verdana, is part of a master plan by the Architecten Cie, called Het Funen, Hidden Delights , which calls for a total of 500 dwellings and a park. The block contains ten houses and the point of departure for the project was that the urban envelop should be distributed evenly over all of them.
Having been organised according to the “back-to-back” typology, the entries to the apartments are via an aisle in the middle of the block, which rids the facades of the obligatory storage spaces and technical installations that must be publically accessible. By slightly rotating the aisle and orienting it onto two open spaces between the blocks instead of onto two “blind” walls, a public shortcut has been provided and within the orthogonal grid a diagonal vista opens up. Although each of the houses are unique, with apartments ranging from two to four stories, and from 140 to 180 m², together they are one.

Authors:

DeFlat Kleiburg

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DeFlat Kleiburg

Urban Design Environments Liveability Equity

Main objectives of the project

De Flat is a groundbreaking renovation of Kleiburg, one of the largest apartment buildings in the Netherlands. It consists of 500 apartments, spanning 400 meters in length and 10 + 1 stories high. Consortium De FLAT saved the building from demolition by transforming it into a Klusflat, where residents renovate their own apartments. Kleiburg is located in the Bijlmermeer, an Amsterdam residential expansion influenced by CIAM.

The renovation focused on preserving the main structure while leaving the apartments unfinished, creating a new housing business model in the Netherlands. Instead of individualizing and differentiating the building, the goal was to embrace unity and revitalize the entire structure. Concrete additions were removed, restoring the original horizontal balusters and opening up the facade. Sandblasting revealed the beauty of the pre-cast concrete balusters.

The storage spaces were relocated to each floor, freeing up the ground level for social activities and integrating the building with the surrounding park. Double-height connections were created to enhance scenic relationships. Energy-saving motion detectors were used for gallery illumination, allowing the individual apartments to shine.

Overall, De Flat showcases the intrinsic beauty of the building, emphasizing unity, and creating a unique housing concept.

Date

  • 2016: Rehabilitación

Stakeholders

  • Architect: XVW architectuur
  • Architect: NL Architects

Location

Continent: Europe
City: Amsterdam
Country/Region: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Description

De Flat is an innovative renovation of one of the biggest apartment buildings in the NL called Kleiburg, a bend slab with 500 apartments, 400 meter long, 10 + 1 stories high. Consortium De FLAT rescued the building from the wracking ball by turning it into a Klusflat meaning that the inhabitants renovate their apartments by themselves. Kleiburg is located in the Bijlmermeer, a CIAM inspired residential expansion of Amsterdam.

A renewal operation started mid nineties. Many of the characteristic honeycomb slabs were replaced by suburban substance, by ‘normality’.

Kleiburg was the last building in the area still in its original state; in a way it is the “last man standing in the war on modernism”.

The idea is to renovate the main structure -elevators, galleries, installations- but to leave the apartments unfinished and unfurnished: no kitchen, no shower, no heating, no rooms. This minimizes the initial investments and as such creates a new business model for housing in the Netherlands.

Most attempts to renovate residential slabs in the Bijlmer had focused on differentiation. The objective: to get rid of the uniformity, to ‘humanize’ the architecture. By many, repetition was perceived as evil.

But after three decades of individualization, fragmentation, atomization it seems an attractive idea to actually strengthen unity: Revamp the Whole!

It is time to embrace what is already there, to reveal and emphasize the intrinsic beauty, to Sublimize! In the eighties three shafts had been added including extra elevators: they looked ‘original’ but they introduced disruptive verticality. It turned out that these concrete additions could be removed: the elevators could actually be placed inside the cores, the brutal beauty of the horizontal balusters could be restored.

On the galleries the division between inside and outside was rather defensive: closed, not very welcoming. The closed parts of the facade were replaced with double glass. By opening-up the facade the ‘interface’ becomes a personal carrier of the identity of the inhabitants, even with curtains closed…

Sandblasting the painted balusters revealed the sensational softness of the pre-cast concrete: better than travertine!

Originally the storage spaces for all the units were located on ground level. The impenetrable storerooms created a ‘dead zone’ at the foot of the building. By positioning the storage on each floor we could free up the ground floor for inhabitation, activating it to create a social base and embedding the ‘beast’ in the park.

More generous, double height connections between both sides of the building were formed creating scenic relationships.

Gallery illumination has a tendency to be very dominant in the perception of apartment buildings with single loaded access. The intensity of the lamps that light up the front doors on the open-air corridors overrules the glow of the individual units. The warm ‘bernstein’ radiance of the apartments is ‘obscured’ by a screen of cold lights. But what if the gallery lights worked with energy saving motion detectors? The individual units now define the appearance. Every passer-by a shooting star!

Authors:

Haarlemmer Houttuinen Housing

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Haarlemmer Houttuinen Housing

Urban Design

Main objectives of the project

Date

  • 1987: Construction

Stakeholders

  • Architect: Architectuurstudio HH

Location

Continent: Europe
City: Amsterdam
Country/Region: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Description

Authors:

Zaanstad, Netherlands 

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Zaanstad

Zaanstad, Netherlands 

Mismatches
Urban Design
Promotion and production

Main objectives of the project

Date

  • 2000: Construction

Stakeholders

  • Architect: Tania Concko
  • Architect: Pierre Gautier

Location

Continent: Europe
City: Amsterdam
Country/Region: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Description

In this project the characteristic and qualities of the site and the memories of an industrial past –the river Zaan was the chief arterial route– have been take as the guiding principle in the design. The assignment comprised three major elements: in the first place the residential function of the site had to be reinforced; in the second place the relationship between the site and the adjacent residential areas required intensification and finally an open green space had to be created along the Zaan. The architects restored the original zoning of the site into separate plots. The plots are separated from each other and from the waterside- the Oostzijde- by water. They are conceived as islands. The separate plots and platforms are framed by a structure of boardwalks which form the open space on the scale of the town. It is a promenade, running along the Zann open to everyone and keeps the memory of the maritime past of the site alive. Tania Concko and Pierre Gautier designed the masterplan of the whole area. It served as document on the basic of which the 3 teams of architects involved in the design, can develop the residential blocks and it defined the architectural brief. In the housing the idea of spaciousness is created through the use of vacant space. So a flexible and differentiated use of the housing is possible. Another characteristic feature for is its double orientation as well as a transition zone between along the façade which can function as a balcony, sun lounge, winter garden or as an extension of the housing unit.

Tania Concko and Pierre Gautier had to supervise the architectural elaborations and they had to design four buildings (2 high blocks along the Zaan and 2 low blocs along the Oostzijde), the platforms with car park and the collective and public exterior spaces.

55 affordable housing units using prefabricated construction systems

45 housing units combining home-working, starters, social & private homes in an hybrid urban block.

Authors: