Published in DASH #03 – The Woonerf Today
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‘Privacy Is Something You Give to Others’

Interview with Benno Stegeman

In the 1970s Benno Stegeman Architects realized a number of housing projects in different parts of the Netherlands, whose design and architectural construction reflect a clear vision of a different way of living. The first of these, the Meerzicht Project in Zoetermeer, consisted of dwellings in limestone brick with distinctive orange-tinted domed skylights. The houses were arranged in irregular patterns along public walkways lined with planting. In the next project, designed for the Krekenbuurt district in Zwolle, the typology was developed to take parking and outdoor facilities into account. A third development of higher density, the Bergenbuurt Project in Capelle aan den IJssel, consisted of small apartment blocks clustered around traffic routes and, as before, areas of planting.

All three developments continue to be very popular with residents and house hunters today, largely, it seems, due to the unity of the architecture and the quality of the communal spaces. What lies behind this success? Is there something we can learn from these ventures that might be useful for future residential projects? We put the question to Benno Stegeman (b. 1930) himself, still active as an architect and currently working on housing develop-ments for central as well as peripheral urban sites…