In the Netherlands a substantial number of Open Design projects has already been realized. The strange thing is that almost nobody knows that they are Open Building creations. Sometimes not even the residents know. That’s because these projects often are the result of the personal ambition of a departing housing association director or a councilor of a municipality? When this particular person retires or accepts a new job elsewhere Open Design disappears from the table; no longer in the interest of the organization or politically contaminated, is the conclusion.
Verderop volgen documenten vanuit ministeries en de Stichting Architecten Research (SAR) met daarin achtergronden, nu de eerst vele voorbeelden.
The documentary `CASE STUDIES NL` is a research project that portrays a kaleidoscope of seven Dutch housing developments which all have adaptability and participation of the inhabitants as their core concepts. The key players of each project discuss the failures and successes of the various designs and their underlying processes. Although set in very different contexts and scales, mutual issues arise. Understanding these may help future initiatives and developments to succeed.
#1 HOMERUSKWARTIER Almere
#2 NIEUW LEYDEN Leiden
#3 SOLIDS Amsterdam
#4 KLUSHUIZEN Rotterdam
#5 MEANDERHOF Zwolle
#6 VRIJBURCHT Amsterdam
#7 GW GEMEENSCHAPPELIJK WONEN Nieuwegein
documentary, 95 minutes, 2014
DVD available at ximage.nl/shop.html
Between 1972 and 1982, the project Lunetten by a cooperation of housing corporations has been build. In the Netherlands this is the largest – entirely in accordance with the Open Build methods of base building and fit-out separation – completed project with 422 residences. Residents were directly involved in the installation by having an average of two personal interviews with the architect. Then a completely personal installation package for each property is composed and realized by Bruynzeel. In several homes, these Bruynzeel packages still exist, but total replacement after nearly 40 years is imminent. Precisely this replacement can be done today completely without any damage / interference of the base building by the then common method of building section separation. Circular building done well way before anyone being familiar with the concept. More about the actual implementation in the Pocket Book Open Design by the achitect Frans van der Werf.
In 1999, the pilot project Netscher-/Ruijsdaelstraat of VZOS (now HaagWonen) was delivered. Residents were not involved with the fit-out. In 2013 the maintenance department states that the involvement of residents is not in the best interests of the housing association. The reason: the large, abnormal and therefore unknown and uncontrollable responsibilities with respect to other traditionally managed association housing.
In 2012, the Amsterdam project Solids from Het Oosten (now Stadgenoot) is completed with a building in (Old) West and a double building in East (IJburg). Despite the extensive publicity surrounding the design and construction, the commissioning and the financial side of the development has been disappointing. Reason: too many new initiatives at the same time, functions that do not reinforce each other (in West) and lack of specific need (in East). Here you can find the powerpoint on the preparation (in Dutch) and the download: The evaluation of Solids (in Dutch).
The open enrollment for West Solid 11 also provided room for a hotel function based on the highest price per m2. The result: half of the building has a shortstay- and hotel function. Only hotel guests have no involvement in the neighborhood. That provides a stark and very disturbing daily contrast with the concerned residents. The building in the East is again filled with traditional social housing. The original target group has little interest for the intended value of the concept of IJburg Solid 1 and 2. After years of delay traditional habitation follows in an now extremely expensive building, including the repay of earlier VAT refunds because the different tax settlements of functions.
At the moment a serie of so-called ‘super loft’ projects in a diversity of cities is on sale or during construction. The are organised by a series of cooperating architects under the name De Hoofden (The Heads in English). See the progress on the website of their projects.
A project in Amsterdam currently on sale and to be built in the next year is Schetsblok [in Dutch] with Open Building principles. In de download you find drawings of fit-out options to start with and showing the possibilities. The option of later changes in the building are not mentioned, as is the Japanese principle of renovation later on without disturbing your neighbours. The base building named Casco is offered with the principle of self fit-out. Although the fit-out requested can also be provided by the construction company building the base building. Based on present experience in Japan and former The Netherlands, I would suggest specialised fit-out companies will be able to give a better performance. But so-far those specialised companies have to small a market to flourish.
At the most internationally oriented business center in the Netherlands – the Zuidas – Open Building is seen as a condition to prevent premature demolition of the many high-rise buildings. These so-called Limber Buildings take sustainability as a starting point: the high quality offices must be completely and simply in-fittable, apart from the supporting structure, installations and facade. The municipality sees traditional building as a great risk. Traditional buildings become obsolete fast and often need to be demolished. The local high-rise is on a very densely populated location with crowded public transport and motorway links. It remains to be seen how this will all work out and be controlled. There is a brochure in Dutch and in English.
In the 1980s a flat in Voorburg from the 1950s was completely renovated; the flat was newly fitted with homes based on industrial customization to the individual needs of residents. Most residents have already been living there for more than twenty years, thanks to the fit-out tailored to their personal housing needs. Despite the fact that this fit-out can easyly be customized further, residents have no need for it. They live like buyers but for a rental fee. The housing association has had nothing to worry about for many years already. The supplier of the fit-outs had of course expected more business but did not get it. The success for the residents works to his disadvantage. About this project you will find a presentation here and a descriptive document. Both are in Dutch.
A living/care building in Voorburg was completed in 2013 where the organization of care homes has organized the health care needs of its tenants. The base building is separated from the care taking part and realized by the investor. In this document, the architect and developer expand on that. And here you see their presentation (both in English).
Four buildings were given a personal fit-out in consultation with the residents. Keyenburg in Rotterdam (1984), Molenvliet in Papendrecht (1977), Pelgrimshof in Zevenaar (2000) and Meander in Zwolle (2008). In Rotterdam, the housing association arranged a total renovation with rearrangement of apartment sizes and fit-outs, all in consultation with the existing residents. In Zwolle the residents were also formally client from a Collective Private Commissioning (CPO). Here you will find the project descriptions (in English). In addition, some of these projects are described in detail in the book “Open Design” (in Dutch) in the website shop.
The Ministry of Housing of the Netherlands has led research and delivered various documents. It was doing it mainly to show the benefits of Open Building broad support. A good example is the document around exploring Base Building – Fit-Out agreements rules.
Separately, it examined Flexibility in homes to see what changes in the future are required for these homes to meet presently largely unknown requirements and demands of the future of the residents.
As regards the financing of Open Building in houses there is a lot of research published including this from the SAR on financing support incorporation. And what assumptions DHV in this report on Base Building – Fit-Out already set put clearly in the 90s that it is important.