Following the largescale production of new buildings in the second half of the twentieth century and the lull of the economic crisis, a new practice is emerging. Finding ways to reuse the existing building stock plays an important part in this. In the quest for a more sustainable use of resources and social capital, this focus on the transformation of the existing housing stock is a promising task for architects and
developers. In the Netherlands, all eyes are on the postwar housing that, built in the reconstruction period, is due for an overhaul on technical grounds alone. This challenge is not new. Social change has gone hand in hand with adaptation of the housing stock for centuries. This DASH brings the current challenge into historical and international perspective, with essays that shed light on the subject from different stand points as well as newly documented examples – from Diocletianus’s palace in Split to the Albany apartment complex in London and recent projects such as the klus huizen (DIY houses) on U.J. Klarenstraat in Amsterdam.
A growing awareness of the necessity to use resources and social capital more sustainably has put the transformation of existing housing high on the agenda of developers and architects. In the Netherlands, attention is mostly focussed on postwar residential buildings, which for technical reasons alone are due to be refurbished. But the assignment is not […]
Frederik Hendriklaan 22, a townhouse in The Hague’s Statenkwartier or States Quarter, was built around 1900. The house has a floor area of approximately 300 m2. In the initial phase it was probably inhabited by a family, possibly three generations and staff. Shortly before my parents bought the house the ground floor was used by […]
Among the many forms of architectural and urban transformations of the existing city, the rethinking of modern mass housing built throughout Europe after the Second World War has become a crucial topic in the contemporary debate.
Jaap Bakema’s work and position were marked by an unshakeable belief in society’s engineerability. In his many lectures and publications he also noted a number of reservations about decision-making processes and life itself as the greater reality outside architecture’s; his optimism nevertheless seemed to know no bounds. Not only when he formulated answers to the […]
In the Netherlands there are few people who build their own homes. The majority of the population lives in a house that was built in the past.
In the 1970s and 1980s it was usual to demolish outdated nineteenth-century blocks of housing completely and replace them with new-build, certainly in the social sector.
Not so very long ago, renovation or wholesale maintenance of post-war housing was not an activity you could use to distinguish yourself as an architect. After all, the task was primarily technical in nature. There was no honour to be gained as an architect unless it involved a residential building by a famous architect like Rietveld, Van Tijen or Brinkman en Van der Vlugt, or so it seemed.
Traditionally, architecture is not only about the production of new buildings, but also about the adaptation of existing ones. Consulting the history of architecture teaches us that there are countless fantastic examples of buildings that have been radically transformed over time, for example Roman theatres and stadiums that were transformed into squares and residential complexes […]
In the year 305, Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletian stood down as the emperor of the Roman Empire of his own free will – unheard of in ancient times – to retire to his recently completed residence on the Adriatic coast, near the fishing village of Asphalatos in present-day Croatia. During his 20-year reign, he implemented […]
Entering the sheltered Proveniershof via the Aspoort on a beautiful summer’s day, one is likely to find residents sitting outside their homes or having a picnic on the grass of the communal courtyard. In the winter it is quiet and empty.
Since the radical renovation of the eighteenth-century Melbourne house on Piccadilly (London) into flats for single gentlemen in 1802, the complex, renamed Albany, has had a special reputation. It is an exclusive, desirable and, at the same time, somewhat infamous enclave in the heart of London, with a long list of famous inhabitants from the […]
As you walk along Corso XXII Marzo, coming from the Madonnina that overlooks Milan, the regular rhythm of the quiet late nineteenth-century façades is suddenly interrupted. A brutalist concrete corner, adjacent to a prototypical building block in the urban plan of Cesare Beruto, lets you glimpse through it into a courtyard. On entering this space, […]
With the official division of the former minor seminary Hageveld in Heemstede into a front and rear section in 2001, a period of living and learning under a shared roof came to a definitive end. The rear section, consisting of two parallel building strips with a central chapel, a schoolyard, sports fields and part of […]
The idea behind the project Een Blok Stad (A Block of City) was conceived ten years ago when a nineteenth-century city block located between the Zwaerdecroonstraat and the Snellinckstraat that was owned by housing association Woonstad Rotterdam was nominated to be demolished. The residents of the block vehemently opposed the housing association’s new construction plans […]
Not many housing types have become part of the architectural heritage of a country to the extent that the Amsterdam merchant’s house did in the Netherlands. The type is inextricably bound up with the famous Grachtengordel (Canal District) to which it owes its existence and of which it determines the character. At the same time, […]
In 1922, a remarkable residential complex, the Justus van Effen block, is completed in the Rotterdam Spangen district. Its designer is architect Michiel Brinkman (1873-1925), a representative of both the artisan tradition of the nineteenth century and the modern era, who considers architecture a social challenge and is an adherent of rationalization and functionalism. The […]
Many suburbs of former Eastern Bloc cities still look like concrete jungles, built during the decades of Soviet reign in which the post-war housing shortage was addressed on a large scale. There is no place with a higher concentration of these structures in the former Soviet Bloc than in both countries in the area formerly […]
The Dutch housing market contains several stubborn paradoxes. One of them is that only really ‘old’ and really ‘new’ dwellings are deemed acceptable; everything in between is a bit of a problem. As such, no one is surprised that thousands of euros are invested to actualize historical canal houses or to restore houses from the […]