Plan Documentation

Plan Documentation Home Work City

This edition of DASH documents ten projects that, on the scale of the urban block, explore the ways in which workhome combinations contribute to urban design, architecture and programming. Historical examples in Coventry, London, Kyoto, Paris and Amsterdam as well as more recent projects in Basel, again Paris, Maastricht, Rotterdam and (a brand new one in) Berlin, in both growing and planned cities, offer relevant leads. The drawing method used in the project analyses focuses on three design themes: the representation of the mixed programme, the collective domain and the accessibility from the public realm (the area between the street and the front door), and finally how living and working are interwoven on the scale of both the urban block and the dwelling.

The way the ten documented projects manifest in the urban fabric is unusual because of the added work programme. In this context, we primarily focus on the mixed programme’s representation and recognizability towards the city as well as – if the project is part of a larger urban block – on its representation within the created enclave (the collective domain). This representation is presented in a full-page isometric projection of the ensemble in its urban context. Projects that refer to the scale and façade composition of factories include Cash’s One Hundred Cottage Factory, where a continuous strip of windows represents a factory hall, WoonWerkPand Tetterode, a transformed former letter-foundry and Schiecentrale 4b, with its impressive, tight-gridded glass façade. Other projects take their representation from the logic of the workshop or atelier. The Pullens Estate is made up of small work-yards with small-scale workshops and IBeB: Integratives Bauprojekt am ehemaligen Blumengroßmarkt is interwoven with the ground level in cross section: double-high basement ateliers are accessed via footbridges and topped by north-facing atelier apartments with workspaces on the ground floor. Yet other projects make use of the neutral aesthetics of the office, such as Piazza Céramique. In this context the collage comprising Wohnhäuser St. Alban-Tal is exceptional because in it, the representation of living and working (the two are never linked) has an ambiguous character. The cover of DASH shows that living in the Cité Montmartre aux Artistes takes place along galleries with narrow façade openings and that the work spaces to the back have large, northfacing studio windows. Living and working meet in the atelier apartments as well as face each other across elongated, collective courtyards.

The second design theme concerns the collective domain and its accessibility from the public domain. These spaces form buffers and facilitate a variety of access options. In ‘domain drawings’, the ground floors of the projects are drawn in their immediate urban contexts and show collective entrances and entrances to dwellings, work spaces or workhomes as well as the collective domain (uncovered = pale beige; covered = dark beige). In the case of Schiecentrale 4b, we had to deviate from this. In this project the focus is on the collective domain, which is accessed from, but also elevated above ground level.

The collective domain can be closed off by means of gates (Cash’s One Hundred Cottage Factory, The Pullens Estate) or by a combination of gates and collective vestibules (Cité Montmartre aux Artistes, WoonWerkPand Tetterode) that act as a filter and create an enclave within the urban block. The spaces are dimensioned for freight traffic; after all, they have to facilitate the loading and unloading of materials and products. At the scale of an entire urban block, the Quartier Masséna exemplifies such combined access methods. Here – within the boundaries of an urban block – individual buildings are accessed via collective vestibules that are connected by a network of paths. Fences separate the collective courtyard from the public road. In the case of free-standing buildings, the collective domain can also be accessed by relatively simple shared entrances (Wohnhäuser St. Alban-Tal, IBeB). Piazza Céramique occupies a special place because here, a discrete entrance to the public area accesses a very formal atrium with surrounding galleries that function as a vestibule for the residential programme in one building and also provides access to the (mainly office-oriented) work programme in the other. The Cité Montmartre aux Artistes’ atelier apartments are accessed via collective galleries; the same gallery principle is also found in Schiecentrale 4b. At IBeB the gallery has been transformed into a rue intérieure that opens up most of the dwellings at the heart of the cross section, like a new interpretation of the rue intérieure Le Corbusier coined much earlier, in the sense of a social capacitor for his residential Unité d’habitation, which was designed as a community.

The third analysis theme considers the way in which components such as dwelling, workshop/ atelier, atelier apartment and workhome relate to either flexible or inflexible building structures. The components are drawn as isometric projections and as floor plans, together with façade fragments that visualize the architectural representation of the drawn programme. The extent to which there are separate living and working areas or rather intertwined ones is represented in two shades of grey. In addition, the degree to which living and working spaces are interwoven in the overall project is recorded in an isometric diagram that sums up this information at a glance.

The component used in the Cité Montmartre aux Artistes is the rationally stacked, connected and accessed atelier apartment (logementatelier). Within this component, residents personalize the interiors of their atelier apartments by intervening in the size and use of the mezzanine floors. The Mumeisha Machiya are single-storey, small-scale components used in a dense urban network. They have a high degree of flexibility within their contours due to the way in which walls and panels can be opened, closed and moved both in the interior and towards the street. The flexibility of Piazza Céramique is maximized by the structural design of both buildings: the use of load-bearing façades allows each building block to upsize or downsize or be mainly residential or mainly commercial. By contrast, Wohnhäuser St. Alban-Tal, a traditional ensemble with two types of components – separate dwellings and separate ateliers – is not flexible at all. The former factory complex WoonWerkPand Tetterode features various building blocks and has both characteristics: an enormous spatial variation and a great diversity of (innumerable) components.

The analysed projects’ added value to the city is in the added work programme, which gives the projects a different daily rhythm. Their divergent – and characteristic –representation at the scale of the urban block contributes to a lively cityscape. In addition, the flexibility of urban blocks holds a promise for the degree to which they are future-proof.

The drawings are mostly based on historical publications, private photographs and archive material. The more recent projects in Maastricht, Rotterdam, Amsterdam and Berlin have been drawn on the basis of documentation made available by the designers involved. New photo reports have been made especially for this DASH issue and supplemented with photographs obtained from designers and authors. In the older projects, historical photographs have been used whenever available to ensure the original appearance can be compared with the current situation.


With contributions by:

Frederique van Andel, Javier Arpa, Mikel van Gelderen, Marius Grootveld, Frances Holliss, Pierijn van der Putt, Lidwine Spoormans & Franz Ziegler


Axel Beem & Ana Luisa da Fonseca

With the assistance of:

Melvin de Wijs


Cash’s One Hundred Cottage Factory

Goventry (GB)

Cash’s One Hundred Cottage Factory was a development of 46 weavers’ houses built in 1857 in Coventry. A shared driveshaft ran through the upper-floor weaving studios, powered by a collective steam engine, allowing home-based silk weavers to operate power looms and therefore compete with their factory-based peers. Such buildings were called ‘cottage factories’. Arranged as a pair of 12-m-high terraces around a set of allotments, the larger 112-m-long block overlooked the Coventry Canal to the east, while the shorter, at 62 m, overlooked Cash’s Lane to the south. The scheme also included the Head Office for J. & J. Cash, Ltd., the silk weaving company that built the development and employed the resident weavers.


The Pullens Estate

London (GB)

In the Pullens Estate, built near Elephant and Castle, London in 1886-1901, 684 one-bedroom apartments were built in 12 austere tenement blocks across six streets. Each of the ground- and first-floor flats extended into a contiguous workspace that backed onto one of four cobbled yards. This unique arrangement developed the mews model around the needs of the manufacturing poor: blue-collar workhomes. Combining workers’ housing with industrial units, it allowed artisans, small traders and their families to live and work on the premises. Ground-floor shops with elaborate glazed timber frontages, facing outwards onto the street on either side of the gated entrance to each yard, also combined with adjacent living space.


Mumeisha Machiya

Kyoto (JP)

Machiya are traditional wooden dwellings that are still very common in Japanese cities. The combination of dwelling and work space is anchored in the genesis of this dwelling type, which was built by the merchants and craftsmen of old. The original use included the display of goods in the shop (mise) on the street side and living space for families in the rooms at the back. The sleeping quarters of the staff were on the upper floor and kimonos and other valuable possessions were kept safe in the storage room (kura), the ‘treasury’ at the back of the courtyard. The urban structure consists of a grid of squares, with the machiya forming more or less closed building blocks. In some cases blocks are dissected by smaller streets and divided into fragments.


Cité Montmartre aux Artistes

Paris (FR)Henry Résal & Adolphe Thiers

A group of artists launched the construction of the Cité Montmartre aux Artistes with the objective of finding an affordable place to live and work, at a time in which most of the units of this type in Paris were not occupied by artists, but by wealthier classes willing to inhabit innovative housing typologies. The first tenants moved in in 1932, but in 1936 the Paris public housing authority (OPHBM de la ville de Paris – currently known as Paris Habitat) acquired the site, because the artists were having difficulties finalizing the project. From its origin, OPHBM’s policies favoured the permanence of artists in the city. This tradition of mixing working and community life dates back to the Middle Ages, and was later developed as an architectural and social project under the influence of utopian thinking. Today, Paris Habitat, which undertook the rehabilitation of the entire complex in 2001, manages the largest portfolio of workhome units for artists in France. Artists and young professionals can thus find spaces that meet their needs to combine habitat and production within the city.


Wohnhäuser St. Alban-Tal

Basel (CH)Diener & Diener

By understanding the two apartment buildings with studios placed at right angles to each other as a collage of two building volumes that is a logical continuation of the surrounding urban fabric, this ensemble in the St. Alban-Tal district builds on Aldo Rossi’s idea that the city must be understood in its entirety. The two building volumes of similar dimensions replace two former paper mills, and are closely placed on either side of a narrow industrial canal, like a number of old paper mills immediately south of the ensemble. The western building volume accentuates the end of the central road through St. Alban-Tal and also flanks an elongated square along the Rhine. Lengthwise the eastern volume is oriented towards the river, offering panoramic views over the water. This is accentuated by a series of tall, top-floor windows emphasized by an emphatically protruding roof edge.


Quartier Masséna

Paris (FR)Christian de Portzamparc & Jean-Philippe Pargade, Gaëlle Péneau, Catherine Furet, Antoine Stinco

In 2007 Paris saw the completion of the Quartier Masséna, a district consisting of 17 urban blocks, a park (Jardins Grands Moulins Abbé Pierre) and a number of transformed existing buildings (Bibliothèque des Grands Moulins, Université Paris Diderot and artists’ breeding ground Les Frigos) on its left bank. In his master plan Christian de Portzamparc used the principle of the îlot ouvert (Open Block) to organize dwellings and work spaces and to provide residents with a rich, collective outdoor space. The îlot ouvert is best described as a fragmented closed building block. Rather than forming a single urban volume, the building mass of an îlot ouvert is distributed over a number of buildings that in turn comprise different volumes of varying height and form. The collective outdoor space is accessed via patios in – and openings between – the buildings, which are closed off from the public street by fencing that follows the building line of the urban block.


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Piazza Céramique

Maastricht (NL)Jo Janssen & Wim van den Bergh

Piazza Céramique can be considered one of the keystones of the Céramique district in Maastricht, realized from 1987 onwards according to a master plan by Jo Coenen. The plan provides for a substantial expansion of the inner-city area with an urban programme of dwellings and work and cultural spaces on the former factory site of the Société Céramique and (later) ceramics producer Sphinx. Whereas most of the residential buildings are U-shaped apartment blocks with green courtyards opening onto the Avenue Céramique, this urban ensemble is in a class of its own because it turns the urban building block projected in the master plan inside-out. Rather than a single building block, the architects designed a composition of three volumes on a (parking) platform that merges into the urban composition created by the surrounding buildings. This open arrangement ensures that the publicly accessible piazza and the urban garden located to the east of block B, which is bordered by the former factory wall, become natural links in the finely meshed pedestrian network that connects various inner courtyards and streets. Two high cubic volumes (A, only townhouses and B, mixed programme) on the north side and a narrow, low building volume (C, a terrace of seven dwellings with work space, designed by Luijten/Verheij architecten) on the south side are in perfect harmony with each other and with the adjacent buildings, which are all clad in the same red brick. The stoniness of the public space underlines the formal urban architecture of the two palazzi.


Schiecentrale 4b

Rotterdam (NL)Mei architects and planners

For many years, the Lloydpier in Rotterdam was nothing but a raw piece of city with mainly port industry. Now, creative businesses are flourishing where there used to be warehouses and where cargo and passenger ships left for the Dutch East Indies. Since 1995 the former Schiehaven Power Station located on the pier, which once included a battery house, canteen, transformer house, boiler house and turbine hall, has been fully transformed into a compact piece of city with new programming (music and television studio, event hall, offices and restaurant). In addition to this redevelopment, two buildings have been added to the complex: Kraton 230 (radio and television station RTV Rijnmond’s office and studios) and Schiecentrale 4b, a flexible residential and commercial building that mainly accommodates companies from the creative sector.


WoonWerkPand Tetterode

Amsterdam (NL)Johan W.F. Hartkamp, Jan Frederik van Erven Dorens, Merkelbach & Karsten, Merkelbach & Elling, K.P.C. de Bazel, residents and users

When N.V. Lettergieterij Amsterdam, formerly N. Tetterode, left its Bilderdijkstraat premises in 1981, a developer wanted to replace it with luxury apartments and shops. In protest against these plans, squatters occupied the building. Five years later, the city bought the building complex and the squatters, united in a single cooperative, were able to rent the building shell from housing association Het Oosten. Holslag van Nek van Hoek Architekten renovated the complex and performed a number of interventions to ensure that it was safe to use. The most striking of these was the removal of part of the roof over the factory hall between the buildings, creating an inner courtyard and escape route.


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IBeB: Integratives Bauprojekt am ehemaligen Blumengroßmarkt

Berlin (D)ifau | HEIDE & VON BECKERATH

In the spring of 2018, builders completed a striking new urban block in Berlin-Kreuzberg, directly opposite the Jewish Museum Berlin. The building is at right angles to the prestigious Lindenstrasse and next to the auction hall of the former Blumengrossmarkt (Wholesale Flower Market). The robust mass is five storeys high, 22.5 m wide and more than 100 m long. The architecture effortlessly connects the vocabulary of a residential building with that of a work building: a strong hybrid. The long sides of the building largely consist of glazed brickwork surfaces with deeply recessed, repetitive fronts. Its two ends have a sculptural urban quality. In the elongated southern façade, the brickwork is alternated with protruding balconies that emphasize the horizontality of the façade. The remarkably transparent base of the building allows for public-oriented functions.


Plan Documentation

Plan Documentation From Dwelling to Dwelling

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 or, more recently, industrial or religious heritage that acquired a new, residential destination. The transformation of buildings originally designed for habitation is a very special task.

The ten projects documented in this DASH show that the transformation of dwellings into dwellings is a topical phenomenon, but not a new
one. Against the background of a wide range of projects from different periods that involve different forms of habitation, this issue presents
a rich variety of design options and solutions. The projects are arranged by the years of their documented transformations.

Diocletian’s Palace in Split (KR) shows how even after 15 centuries of transformation, the fragmented structure of an ancient dwelling for one man and his court continues to play a symbiotic part in the daily life of a contemporary city.

The Proveniershof in Haarlem (NL) shows how smart conversions and internal transformations allowed a secluded, century-old courtyard building to adapt to the requirements of the different periods.

Due to changing economic conditions, the transformation of the Melbourne House in London (GB) into the exclusive Albany led to surprising new forms of habitation; the personality of the original building continues to be important to the many new residents as well.

That the transformation of existing buildings can also serve an urban purpose by maintaining the character of the public space is shown by the Corso XXII Marzo project in Milan (IT). Here, behind remnants of existing nineteenth-century façades, the most radical transformation in this issue of DASH was carried out. Adding an extra floor behind existing façade openings created unconventional and spatial interiors.

The transformation of the Minor Seminary Hageveld in Heemstede (NL) illustrates how the preservation of both the large scale and the distinguished appearance of this early twentiethcentury collective residential and educational building in a park-like setting ensured its appeal to the individual residents of luxurious apartments that were realized here after the transformation.

Conversely, the inner-city project Een Blok Stad in Rotterdam (NL), which apparently had no distinctive qualities left at all, shows how an approach that involves different architects highlights the potential of mixing the old with the new.

The incremental transformation of inner cities at the level of the individual dwelling is illustrated by Herengracht 249 in Amsterdam (NL). The dwelling is exemplary for the way history, heritage and innovation continue to go hand in hand.

The recent renovation of the Justus van Effen Complex in Rotterdam proves that the transformation of heritage can also involve a subtle combination of restoration and redesign.

The projects Panelák in Rimavská Sobota (SL) and Klarenstraat in Amsterdam (NL), finally, each in their own way convincingly show how the transformation of post-war housing can almost seamlessly introduce new qualities and target groups into an existing urban context.

The projects in this DASH have been redrawn in their situation before and after transformation, with new additions drawn in brown over the black lines of the preserved building parts. The illustrations also show both the old and the recent situation. Where taking new photographs was not allowed, we used existing photos by the architect or a selling party. For helping us obtain information we would like to thank the following people: Dr Katja Marasovic´,Noord-Hollands Archief, housing association Ymere, Archivio Storico Civico di Milano, Mr Gianni Celada, architecture office Kbng, architecture and design practice Studio Shift, Hebly Theunissen Architecten, Emma Architecten, gutgut architects and the municipal archives of Rotterdam and Amsterdam.


With contributions by:
Enrico Forestieri, Arjan Hebly, Annenies Kraaij, Jurjen Zeinstra & Willemijn Wilms Floet

Ana Luisa da Fonseca, Axel Beem, Davida Rauch & Carlyn Simoen