In ‘The Woonerf Today’, DASH (Delft Architectural Studies on Housing) examines the achievements of the Dutch woonerf, its background and current relevancy, and also considers the broader issue of living in a communal zone.
With its recognizable structures, informal interspaces, special traffic rules and wide application, the woonerf is one of the most distinctive concepts associated with residential design, deeply anchored in Dutch society since the 1960s and’70s. Its underlying principles, such as small-scale collectivity, green, ecological patterns and the connection between outdoor space , car and dwelling are still essential elements in building specifications today.
Outside of the Netherlands the Dutch woonerf is also recognized for its designation of pedestrian-priority, small-scale housing estates with informal architecture. A central topic in this third issue of DASH is the question whether the woonerf is still a useful concept to apply in small-scale, informal types of urbanization.
Essays and studies by Ivan Nio, Nynke Jutten and Willemijn Lofvers, Tom Avermaete and Eva Storgaard, Pierijn van der Putt, Dick van Gameren and Harald Mooij consider the spatial and social aspects of life in the communal space of a woonerf, providing detailed analyses of traditional examples and an exploration of current developments in Scandinavia and the Netherlands.
The documentation presents a wide range of inspiring solutions from the recent and less recent past, in the Netherlands and abroad, including projects by Vandkunsten, Onix, Stegeman, Zuiderhoek, Välikangas, Persson and Lyons.
I believe that in twenty years’ time it may be possible to turn this into a tourist attraction . . . with catchy slogans such as: The Tanthof: its chaos, its vitality, its hustle and bustle, its variety, its multiple objectives. The Tanthof: tantalizing, in the Nietzschean sense of the word, in all its frivolity. […]
A careful, historical analysis of the rise of the woonerf in the Netherlands – and the possible relationship between planning, sociology and architecture – form the prelude to a consideration of potential lessons for the future.
An examination of the position of individual dwellings in relation to the woonerf, with attention to architectural articulation, daily use, the design of fronts and backs and the place of the car.
Two exceptional projects from the 1970s, Park Rozendaal in Leusden and Krekenbuurt in Zwolle, are meticulously examined and compared to identify the factors responsible for their continuing success.
A survey of a number of exemplary collective housing projects in Denmark and their role in Danish residential culture in the second half of the twentieth century
Surprisingly, recent Vinex housing production includes a number of projects that developinformal qualities of the 1970s’ woonerf
Architect Benno Stegeman, who started his practice in the 1970s, looks back at the objectives and qualities of some of his realized designs. Are the principles used then still relevant today?
Alex van de Beld, who started his practice in the 1990s, talks about the specific qualities of informality and suburban living. Besides finding the right balance between privacy and collectivity, examples provided by Scandinavian residential culture are examined.
The plan documentation for the woonerf in this third edition of DASH presents a series of projects, historical and recent, national and international, that the editorial team regard as exemplary in any discussion of living on a woonerf. The core of the selection comprises a series of exceptional Dutch housing estates, dating from the heyday […]
In the early years of the twentieth century a solution needed to be found for the poor living conditions endured by blue-collar workers in Helsinki. Ebenezer Howard’s ideas for garden cities in England inspired plans for a residential estate in the Käpylä woods, some 5 km to the north of Helsinki. These specified that the […]
During the 1930s and ’40s the Swedish builder and inventor Eric Sigfrid Persson (1898-1983) developed a number of extremely progressive housing projects in Malmö. (Persson invented the perspektivfönster, a wide, easy-to-clean hinged window for high-rise buildings.) His visits to New York and the American suburbs convinced him that the high-rise approach did not constitute an […]
In the 1950s K.H. Gaarlandt, mayor of Emmen, brought a number of innovative architects and urban planners to his village, to supervise its development and expansion. The motto of this project was: ‘Emmen shall be a town, ok, as long as it stays a village!’ The arrival of the Algemene Kunstzijde Unie (AKU, now Akzo […]
In the late 1950s a reactor for Euratom, the European Institute for Nuclear Research, was built in the dunes near Petten. A piece of land was purchased in the nearby artists’ village of Bergen to provide accommodation for the institute’s expatriate employees. The plans for this location comprised dwellings, a guesthouse and a European School […]
When the land from two Kent farms came up for sale in 1961, project developer SPAN and architects Eric Lyons & Associates decided to take a new step in the realization of their ambitions. They had previously created progressive and successful housing estates in locations such as Twickenham, Blackheath and Cambridge. Now they saw their […]
The second Nota Ruimtelijke Ordening (Policy Document on Spatial Planning) prompted Leusden’s designation in 1996 as a growth core in the Amersfoort region. A new structural plan formed the basis for the village’s expansion, citing English new towns with their low-density housing. Several years later, one of the authors of the plan, David Zuiderhoek, designed […]
In 1974 architect Benno Stegeman was commissioned to design a neighbourhood on the Aa-Landen housing estate in Zwolle. This neighbourhood was to reflect 1970s’ ideals which sought new residential forms within a new, democratized and individualized society. The guiding principles derived from themes such as collectivity versus individuality, hospitality and small-scale development…
For the northern perimeter of Farum, a village to the northwest of Copenhagen, architects Tegnestuen Vandkunsten designed a new kind of housing estate that combined communal and private institutions, plus considerable interweaving of collective and personal environments, in a coherent whole. The plan caused quite a stir during the 1980 youth biennale at the Centre […]
Almere-Buiten Oost, the most northerly extension to Almere, is composed of a number of neighbourhoods that are separated from each other by broad areas of green. Recently, several independent and more experimental, small-scale neighbourhoods were created in a relatively young strip of woodland. One of these projects, designed by Onix architects, set out to create […]
In 2004 Tegnestuen Vandkunsten architects won a closed architectural competition, organized by the Danish developer BBB – Bedre Billigere Boliger (Better Cheaper Housing). BBB intended this competition to stimulate the development of new housing solutions that combined cheap and efficient construction methods with contemporary comfort and an interesting environment. The designated location was a pentagonal […]