Appropriate architecture for post-industrial sites
Industry has left a clear mark on our cities. Many industrial sites are the focal point of an urban regeneration that is taking place for the last few decades in Europe. These vacant sites give us as architects the opportunity to expand the city within its existing borders. But how should we inhabit our post-industrial sites without erasing its personality?
Inhabiting the post-industrial
Two of our most recent housing projects are located in emblematic Dutch post-industrial sites. The Katendrecht Peninsula of Rotterdam, and the former Philips factory site Strijp-S in Eindhoven. Both areas are rapidly transforming into mixed-use urban areas and our projects are part of this development. They are both a pursuit in answering this very relevant question.
a domestic atmosphere?
Busy, rough, active, large and dirty. Industry gives its character. Functional, productive and moving, but now left empty. Repeatedly we notify post-industrial sites transformed into purely domestic areas. A small-scale grain, a lack of activity, a wideness that is not addressed. Adding to this a traditional ‘housing materialisation’ results in something that does not do justice to the former industrial character. Ignoring the existing feel of the place generates a ‘dullness’ and ‘cleanness’ that makes it feel as an anywhere, not a somewhere.
a sense of place
We believe architecture only makes sense when its site specific, when it connects physically and mentally to the micro-context. Both our housing tower ‘Haasje-over’ in Strijp-S and the ‘Havenkwartier’ in Rotterdam communicate and interact with their unique environment. They possess a certain largeness, have a functional and layered appearance, are roughly and distinctively materialised and embrace the industrial characteristics.
All of this without becoming uninhabitable, rather the opposite. Both ‘Haasje-Over’ and ‘Havenkwartier’ acknowledge and re-activate their industrial context, accommodating a somewhere for the vibrant and diverse urban communities that will inhabit them.
STRIJP-S - HAASJE OVER
The former Philips-area
The Strijp-S ensemble in Eindhoven was designed and built during the second machine-age. The machine and the factory became predominant, resulting in a truly efficient and rational expression. The industrial logistics and technical principles of the Philips manufacturing process, inspired by Ford and Taylor, resulted in a collection of buildings with a very different look. An autonomous piece of city with strictly organised and physically connected buildings. An urban system of streets and squares where long lines prevailed and functionality was sacred.
Today, the architectural and urban principles of Strijp-S still form a mental connection with this rich history. The physical connections between buildings however have faded throughout the years. Our project ‘Haasje Over’ re-introduces the physical relation with its neighbours. Explicit and visual, as two arms that embrace the surroundings.
The main volume is a tower of 70 meter high which consists of 134 loft-apartments of 50m2. The lofts have a very spacious feel due to a floor to ceiling height of 4 meters and their large picture frame window. The first bridge of the building embraces an existing industrial-hall that now functions as a skate-hal. Not only does the skate-hal express the architecture of former times, it was and still is programatically very important for the transformation of Strijp-S. It ensures a vibrant and diverse urban area of a certain grittiness and coolness that belongs there. A character that is often removed from these areas when ‘the new’ comes. The bridge houses form a separate community of 48 maisonette-houses that are accessed form a collective courtyard hovering above the skate-hal.
Collective roof garden
The second arm is located half-way the main tower and connects to an existing roof garden on top of the monumental ‘Anton-building’. This Philips-monument has been transformed into housing, but the roof-garden is rarely used. The bridge opens the roof-garden for all the inhabitants of Haasje-over and creates an active connection for the communities of both buildings. Next to that the bridge itself is shaped in such a way that its not just a connector but a place to use, meet and enjoy socially.
“The project literally embraces the specific character of its environment and creates new connections”
“A picture frame and simultaneously a deep bay window; a place to sit and enjoy the view. Inside becomes outside.”
Extending your living space
The large windows are an extension of your living-room, stressing the connection with the environment. You are not only at home in your house, but always part of the neighbourhood. The picture frames are detailed flush with the outer layer of the facade to create a deep bay window; a place to sit and enjoy the view. Inside becomes outside.
Functionality in the facade
The bay windows are framed in a robust concrete grid facade built out of sandwich panels. The mass of the concrete is deliberately contrasting to the bridge over the skate-hal that is materialised in steel and glass. This makes both volumes stand out. The materialisation of the bridge references to the progressive attitude of the machine-age. Steel structures with large sheets of glass.
“Strijp-S is not anymore autonomous and closed-off from the rest of the city. Its special character is still present. Haasje Over embraces that character and creates new connections. Open to its context, fostering a lively urban community.”
Advisors/Collaborators: Stam & de Koning, Tielemans constructeurs, Peutz bv, Ten Hooven.
People: Don Murphy, Sven Hoogerheide, Daniel Bakker, Tritip Chayasombat.
Status: Start of construction
KATENDRECHT - HAVENKWARTIEr
Inhabiting the harbour
‘Het Havenkwartier’ is a diverse housing project located on the Katendrecht peninsula in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Katendrecht is part of a large transformation of the south of Rotterdam that started 20 to 30 years ago. Disconnected from the city. Factories, prostitution and industry; a famed character. But by now this is becoming one of the most popular ‘new places’ of the city: full of life, culture, food, large scale developments and a lot of new residents.
A unique location
The building fills-up one of the last sites of Katendrecht, a unique location with a big duality. To the south we border the key of the Maashaven harbour with its large scale factory buildings, some of them still in use. Towards the north lies a contrasting core of traditional ‘labour houses’, formerly inhabited by dock workers.
“The qualities of the surrounding site shape the building, making it exactly fit for its diverse context.”
Duality with potential
The project uses the duality as a potential and connects the scale and characteristics of the former harbour with that of the traditional housing core. An extension of the ‘Kaappark’ is carved in and a pocket space breaks the profile of the long ‘Hilledijk’ referencing to the beautiful Dutch ‘Hofjes’. The larger volume towards the key, built up by larger stacked blocks, is again a counter-mould of this. With warehouse houses that have an open plinth creating a human scale, along with large industrial doors, inviting appropriation and interaction at the waterfront. The volume, feel and materialisation are informed by and integrated within the micro-context. This results in a building that is strongly grounded in the city’s DNA.
Diverse typologies and the urban family
The vast diversity of housing types is based on the ambition to design a project for everybody who wants to (continue to) live in the city; starters, young urban professionals, empty nesters, locals and families with children. The shape of the block creates several compact urban spaces; ideal pockets for families and collective urban life. These urban spaces, as well as the diverse typologies linked to them, address a highly relevant question for cities and its governments. How to enrich the variety of the (newly built) housing stock? And in such a way contribute to diversified urban communities.
“A sequence of compact urban spaces;
ideal pockets for families and collective urban life.”
The different blocks of typologies are ‘stacked’ on top of each other on the harbour key, like large packages and goods that are temporarily stored at the waterfront before being shipped. The volumes shift and cantilever to break the scale and provide the building of different layers. Bringing a subtle individuality to the harmonious unity that appears at first sight. This is strengthened by the alternating loggia’s and contrasting materialisation.
“The concrete facade relates to the architecture of the large factories in the harbour quay. This brutalistic framework is filled in with contrasting warm wood”
timeless and transforming
‘Het Havenkwartier’ responds to the industrial character, intimate green spaces and vastness of the harbour, and simultaneously addresses the traditional historic housing core. A design approach aimed at diversity, of spaces, people and activities. Most importantly it is perceived as an addition of timeless architecture to the, rapidly transforming, ‘living city’ of Katendrecht.
Brutal and soft
The volume is brutal and at first sight doesn’t appear as a typical housing block. The concrete framework facade adds force to this expression that relates to the architecture of the large factories in the harbour quay. This brutalistic framework is filled in with contrasting materials; warm and soft natural wood, elegant matt-black aluminium, and large horizontal windows stressing the great views.
“A design approach aimed at diversity, of spaces, people and activities.”
Client: Heijmans Vastgoed
Advisors/Collaborators: Zonneveld Ingenieurs, Nelissen ingenieursbureau bv, LBP sight, Bureau Bouwkunde bv, Heijmans Woningbouw, de Beeldenfabriek bv.
People: Don Murphy, Maarten Kempenaar, Job van der Sande, Ines Quinteiro, Jorge Izquierdo, Reto Egli, Victoria Polanco Mora, Tritip Chayasombat.
Status: Definite design, start of sale.
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