Wiener Werkbundsiedlung

ViennaJosef Frank et al.

The Wiener Werkbundsiedlung was created as the last in a group of example neighbourhoods that were built in Central Europe between 1927 and 1932 as part of a series of architecture exhibitions. They were an initiative of the various Werkbund organizations in Europe, and were intended as showcases for the ideas of modern architecture, and as a response to the issue of the cheap and small single-family home. In keeping with this objective, the Wiener Werkbundsiedlung was primarily a catalogue of different housing types that could be applied in future residential areas…

Schaffendes Volk

DüsseldorfPeter Grund et al.

In 1937, a major exhibition was organized in Düsseldorf, at the site where the Nordpark is currently located. The event took place four years after the National Socialists had seized power in Germany, and coincided with the World’s Fair (Exposition Universelle) in Paris. The initiator of the exhibition was the Deutsche Werkbund (the German Association of Craftsmen), which in 1927 had successfully organized the exhibition ‘Die Wohnung’ and constructed the settlement known as the Weissenhof Siedlung. The aim of the exhibition was to allow a previously abandoned exhibition, which had been called ‘Die Neue Zeit’ (The New Age), to in fact take place. But in 1933, the board of the Werkbund had taken on a National Socialist character: from that point onwards, its architect-members needed to have an ‘Aryan Certificate’. The state saw an opportunity to use this exhibition as a propaganda tool for the transformation of the German Reich under Hitler’s Four Year Plan; this plan was meant to make Germany independent in terms of raw materials imported from abroad within four years. The exhibition concept was modified and adapted to the leading political movement, which meant that an exhibition that had been planned as a Werkbund event became a propaganda tool for the Four Year Plan…

Quartiere Triennale 8

Milaan/MilanPiero Bottoni et al.

In 1930 the echoes of the 1927 Weissenhof exhibition were received at the fourth edition of the triennial of Monza. The architecture section went beyond the traditional exhibition of architectural drawings and models to build full-scale prototypes on the theme of the ‘modern house’. In 1933, the fifth triennial moved from Monza to Milan where Gio Ponti, director of the architecture exhibition, promoted ‘housing culture’ in order to highlight the role of modern architecture in the construction of a new society. At the sixth triennial (1936), Giuseppe Pagano explored the Fascist rhetoric of pauperization to advance an in-depth research on the rationalization of housing design, which he himself emphasized with his study of the ‘functionalism of the rural house’…

Plan Internationaal

DoorwerthJ.T.P Bijhouwer/ Bouwfonds et al.

The creation of this international showcase of ‘domestic culture’ dates back to 1960, when the Bouwfonds Nederlandse Gemeenten (a former semi-public company that focused on homes and mortgages) put up a piece of land for sale in the Dutch village of Doorwerth, earmarked to be used for ‘normal development’. But the Bouwfonds’s director at the time, J. Wiersema, thought that this site was too unique for typical standard homes, and came up with a plan to build a variety of homes here of the types that the Bouwfonds had been building since its inception in 1946. He also had in mind a series of prefabricated bungalows from abroad, which would give a good insight into the domestic cultures of the respective countries…

Documenta Urbana

KasselHinrich Baller & Partner et al.

The experimental residential area known as Documenta Urbana arose in the context of Documenta, the contemporary art exhibition that began in Kassel in 1955, and now takes place once every five years. Documenta Urbana was ultimately not part of the programme of (1982), but that made it no less topical. The programme for the neighbourhood came about against the backdrop of criticism of post-war, large-scale residential architecture as well as the later sprawling low-rise neighbourhoods, and the exodus from the city. The purpose of Documenta Urbana was to show, in a time of increased prosperity and a concurrent increase in leisure time, a model for a neighbourhood that was new, urban, and at the same time green, with more living and leisure space for adults and children, both inside and outside the home, as an alternative to the old city. In the Dönche, a nature reserve on the south-western slopes on the outskirts of the city, an area known as Schöne Aussicht (beautiful view) was chosen as a suitable location for the new model neighbourhood…


BerlinJosef Paul Kleihues, Hardt-Waltherr Hämer et al.

In 1979, 23 years after the realization of the Interbau exhibition in Berlin’s Hansaviertel district, the initiative was taken to organize a new, large-scale building exhibition in Berlin. When the exhibition officially ended in 1987, a large number of projects had been built, but together these amounted to only half of the construction plans. The original theme – the city as a place of residence (Der Stadt als Wohnort) – was eventually developed in two separate parts: new urban construction (under the title ‘Kritische Rekonstruktion der Stadt’) and urban renewal (‘Behutsame Stadterneuerung’). Together, both groups of projects formed a manifesto against the urban development in post-war Berlin, which was characterized by large-scale projects, prefabrication and the ignoring of existing structures and buildings. In the introduction to the official project overview from 1987, Josef Paul Kleihues, who was in charge of the section relating to new construction, talked about a dialogue between modernity and tradition that was meant to lead to the so-called ‘critical reconstruction’ of the city…

Bo01 City of Tomorrow

MalmöKlas Tham et al.

Malmö, with its 270,000 inhabitants, is the third-largest city in Sweden. Since 2000, Malmö has been connected to Copenhagen by the Öresund Bridge, yet it has continued to struggle with its image as a dilapidated port city. To shed this image, the city developed a plan (together with the Swedish state and a range of other partners) to transform Malmö into an exemplary sustainable city, in accordance with the LIP (Local Investment Programme, 1998-2003). A flywheel in this process was the housing exhibition known as ‘Bo01 Framtidsstaden’ (City of Tomorrow), which was held in the Västra Hamnen (Western Harbour) section of Malmö. On the basis of a quality programme, this exhibition offered guidelines in terms of a varied architectural appearance and quality, the use of ecological materials, energy that is 100 percent recoverable, green public spaces and technical infrastructure. Bo01 is indebted to the twentieth century housing tradition in Sweden, where the majority of the population lives in (small) apartments in the cities, with a high degree of density. The 1940s notion of the ‘neighbourhood unit’, which symbolized the Swedish welfare state, consisted of houses and a downtown centre with all imaginable amenities. This model was used as the inspiration for Bo01…

IBA Hamburg

HamburgUli Hellweg (director)

Much like other recent IBA exhibitions, IBA Hamburg 2013 covers a large area, and also touches on a wide range of topics. The activities take place on the river islands of Wilhelmsburg and Veddel. On these Elbeinseln (Elbe islands), with their unique urban, industrial and geographical characteristics, the IBA’s three main themes are addressed: the multicultural city (Cosmopolis), ecology, sustainability and climate (Stadt im Klimawandel), and urban peripheries (Metrozonen). This latter theme refers to traffic arteries, wetlands or abandoned industrial sites that are part of the city, but that have not yet been developed. About 50 projects will be realized in the framework of IBA Hamburg, many of which have already been completed…

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Editorial DASH #08

In the study Living in Space and Time. In Search of Socio-cultural Trends in Housing (2009), one of the aspects the Council for Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment drew attention to was the increasing interest in living with other like-minded people, in a privately managed residential domain or otherwise. According to the Council, this demand for smaller environments or microhabitats, where living, working, care and recreation are combined, will rise in the coming years. Now that house-building is stagnating in the Netherlands as a result of the economic crisis, some town and city councils are trying to jump start construction by encouraging future occupants to develop and design houses themselves, as a group. This method – ‘collective private commissioning’ or ‘CPC’ – bypasses the traditional developer, who is no longer able or prepared to run the risks of new-build in the present climate. In this way, housing that is more demand-driven and concentrates on specific requirements can be developed.

Supporters of CPC often cite an increase in scale and the corresponding limitation of costs as an argument for choosing this development strategy. However, there are other motives besides economic for developing a housing block as a group. The opportunity to design a house and living environment entirely in line with one’s own wishes and ideas is the most important. As the examples show, CPC projects are eminently suitable for special programmes and also for experiments with house floor plans and the way dwellings are linked. In order to give the designing discipline its say in the topical debate about CPC as well, this DASH dives into the question of what CPC can mean for housing design. Which opportunities does collective private commissioning provide for the realization of special programmes, housing types and architectural expression?

In his article, Dick van Gameren discusses different historical and modern Dutch projects that were realized via CPC and investigates the historical and possible future role of small-scale collective private commissions for construction and architectural practice in the Netherlands.

In an article about Baugruppen (building groups), Vincent Kompier and Annet Ritsema relate how a strong CPS tradition in Germany has led to interesting and innovative housing architecture.

Pierijn van der Putt demonstrates that the direct collaboration between the future occupants of Eindhoven neighbour-hood
’t Hool (1972) and the firm Van den Broek and Bakema was responsible for a unique design that represents the living require-ments of a new middle class, at the level of both the neighbourhood and the individual house.

In the interviews, architect and CPC champion Hein de Haan, and Frank van Beek and Frank Veen from property developer Lingotto have their say.

Finally, the project documentation presents 11 model projects that demonstrate the ways in which a CPC construction can have an effect on the architectural design. With the help of analysis drawings, aspects such as how the houses are linked and the collective programme are made visible. By including examples from abroad as well as Dutch projects, the project documentation additionally sheds light on the differences between CPC traditions in the Netherlands, North America and West-European countries.


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Differentiation and Cohesion

Collective Private Commissioning in the Netherlands

In a recently broadcast episode of current affairs programme De slag om Nederland (The battle for the Netherlands), architect Pi de Bruijn credited the successful rebuilding of the Roombeek neighbourhood in Enschede to the fact that no project developers had been involved. Instead, the homes had come about through private and collective commissioning. 1 In the architect’s view, this method of development had produced an attractive and thriving neighbourhood, which has since become a tourist destination. In other parts of the country too, local governments are now trying to promote the practice of private commissioning. Housing production has fallen dramatically, while sites that were purchased for large sums of money and are ready for building are still awaiting construction plans. Developers and housing associations are bailing out, thus clearing the way for private initiatives, whether individual or collective.

Whether or not this indicates a definitive shift in the Dutch housing market is impossible to say at this point in time. But what we can do is try to assess whether the increase in private initiatives is resulting in the construction of different types of dwellings. Of particular interest here is the practice of collective commissioning, in which the balance between individual requirements and collective interests seems to offer a new principle for housing design…


  • VPRO, De slag om Nederland, episode 22, broadcast 8 October 2012
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For the Individual and the Collective

Bakema’s ‘t Hool in Eindhoven

Drive north from Eindhoven’s central station along Montgomerylaan, one of the city’s arterial roads, and after exactly 3 km you will arrive at a shopping centre, named after the district of Woensel. Beyond it lies ’t Hool, a remarkable and exceptionally green residential area designed by the Van den Broek en Bakema office, completed in 1972 so now more than 40 years old. The first thing to catch the eye is the sheer quantity and quality of public green space: large trees, shrubs and plenty of other plants create the impression of an overgrown low-rise enclave. Only on closer inspection does it become apparent just how big the neighbourhood is. Both the low-rises within the landscaping and the high-rises a bit further north are part of the plan. Together they form a coherent architectural and spatial entity.

The neighbourhood boasts a surprisingly wide spectrum of dwellings, including courtyard houses, terraced housing, detached houses and split-level high-rise apartments; a total of 14 types, from subsidized rental to free-market owner-occupied housing. All are built in plain brick and dark painted wood. The neighbourhood’s layout is more or less symmetrical. A green, north-south axis bisects the plan and links the area with the Dinantpark to the north and the shopping centre to the south. Situated on either side of this central green axis are six residential courts. Nine smaller versions of this configuration can be found along the neighbourhood’s eastern and western borders. There are two entrances for motorized traffic: in the north-western and north-eastern corners. The road connecting these two entrances forms a loop providing access to the residential courts.

Not visible, but equally remarkable is the background to the neighbourhood’s development. ’t Hool came out of a private initiative by five employees at Philips Nat.Lab (Physics Laboratory)…

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Baugruppen as Catalysts for New Urban Housing Quality

In almost every German city, Baugruppen (building groups) have become a self-evident and accepted part of housing sector output in the last decades. In Berlin in particular, Baugruppen have been responsible for a minor revolution in the development and construction market. The by now more than 150 Baugruppen projects in Berlin appear to be not only a means to ward off the building crisis, but also contribute in architectural and social terms to the diversity and attractiveness of the city. Using the situation in Berlin as an example, insight is given into the spatial aspects that have contributed to the success of the Baugruppen phenomenon…