Woonerf estates are currently attracting a great deal of attention. Not because of their spatial qualities, but on account of the imminent task of restructuring many of them, particularly the bulk of building production from the 1970s and ’80s. There are unexpected ‘gems’ hidden in the mass. The unmistakeable quality of these neighbourhoods is sometimes a product of their overall design and structure – or of the areas arranged as woonerven, although it can also stem from the architecture, or the spatial layout of individual homes.
Park Rozendaal in Leusden, Leyens in Zoetermeer and also Baggelhuizen in Assen and Krekenbuurt in Zwolle are examples of outstanding woonerven. The quality of these estates derives from a wealth of space, the distance between dwellings, the layout of the residential area and the way the residents are able to claim this for their own use. These neighbourhoods also accommodate unusual dwelling typologies, a consequence of horizontal and vertical connections that also create spatial quality. This designed additional space includes such features as hobby tables in the loft, play areas on the entresol and extra rooms for use as residents see fit.
An examination of the layout of these ‘gems’, large and small, reveals subtle transitions from the estate level down to the individual dwelling interior, while collective facilities contribute to solidarity at estate and neighbourhood level. How is collectivity organized or given form? And – perhaps an even more important issue nowadays – how is the residents’ privacy guarded?
This article focuses on the collective sphere of influence in Park Rozendaal in Leusden and Krekenbuurt in Zwolle.1The interaction between the private and the collective domain on both estates creates a deliberate balance, which is architecturally expressed by a series of structural elements. These meticulously designed transitional elements play a role in residents’ use and experience of the woonerven, and their spatial coherence. Such elements bring an individual quality to the woonerf’s typology, but are also dated and fragile, unless supported by a careful maintenance plan, as the examples of Park Rozendaal and Krekenbuurt show…