Housing complex, Beekbergen
Ginkgo leaves in glass
BEEKBERGEN (NL) - Like many other places in the Netherlands, the wooded village of Beekbergen (located south of Apeldoorn in the central part of the country) has an overabundance of wide, post-war terraced houses, once built for large families. Lacking are the cheaper apartments and smaller condominiums better suited to first-time buyers in the housing market and the growing elderly population. To address this, the municipality assigned a multi-part task to four architectural firms, of which Casanova+Hernandez architects eventually won the contract. Of Spanish origins, the architects made their name in 2001, winning the Europan 6 contest with a plan in Groningen, the Netherlands; following that, they settled in Rotterdam.
The project, consisting of an apartment building with eighteen residences and eight so-called 'park homes', stands on the site of a former school from the 1970s. The apartment building is four storeys high and has two completely different facades. On the street is a plain brown, brick facade that responds to the existing brick terraced houses. The windows here are square-shaped, as in the 1950s houses, but now placed in a playful pattern. The facade on the park side is much more colourful and expressive. Here the outdoor spaces are protected with printed tempered glass balcony panels. The architects designed a pattern of leaves from the ginkgo tree (Ginkgo biloba), executed in various shades. After much searching they found a German glass company that could fabricate the hardened glass plates, and even managed to persuade the client to accept their concept with the quality certificates of the safety glass.
The eight apartments are built next to the residential block on a half-sunken parking garage. Because the slope on the park side rises to the first residential floor, it creates a beautiful connection between the row houses and the park. The architects purposefully planned that no physical barrier be present here (such as a fence or hedge), as the slope itself already functions as a natural barrier. Besides a small garden terrace on the living floor, the houses have a spacious roof terrace on the bedroom floor with wonderful views over the central park of green Beekbergen.
Friday | 2 March | 2012 | Netherlands | Emiel Lamers