ROTTERDAM (NL) - New Town Hoogvliet, a satellite town of Rotterdam, has been undergoing an unusual kind of restructuring for the past ten years. The approach adopted in this post-war residential area differs from the conventional raze-and-rebuild practice, thanks to the WiMBY! (Welcome in My Back Yard) foundation. WiMBY! treated Hoogvliet as a test bed for urban renewal ideas, introducing a new kind of optimism with experimental projects like the 'parasites' (temporary school annexes) and the new recreation centre, 'Heerlijkheid Hoogvliet' (see A10 #24).
Veld van Klanken ('Field of Sounds'), a residential area for musicians, is another such initiative. The idea is for like-minded people to live together, so generating local cohesiveness and a readiness to share responsibility for the management of part of the (semi-) public green space. The big challenge facing 24H architects was to design a house with garden, plus a music studio, on a quite limited budget (musicians are famously short of capital). The architects came up with the idea of putting all the studios together and hiding them beneath a layer of earth, a solution that delivered already partially soundproofed spaces and a shared outdoor space, the mound. The houses are grouped around this space.
Because of the relatively high cost of the studios, the houses were designed using very basic materials, so the architects looked for other ways of lending them distinction. For example, the floor plans are fan-shaped and the mound is surrounded by a sculptural fence. The decision to use modified Plato pinewood for this fence and the facades was motivated by its low price and the desire to realize a sustainable project. The properties of this material are such that no further maintenance (painting, cleaning) is necessary and only minimal detailing is required. Because the modified wood is impervious to moisture, the architects were able to make a roof edge without an edge trim. By using boards of varying thicknesses and widths in a 'standard' vertical tongue-and-groove construction, the facades have a varied image and a definite rhythm – highly appropriate given the project's musical nature. (Kirsten Hannema)