client: Mabon BV, Rijswijk
assignment: 40 semi-detached dwellings (3 types)
area: 172-176 m²
start design: 1997
award: ‘Berlage Vlag’ for family housing Eendenbrink
HBG asked us to design semi-detached homes for the ‘vinex’ location in Leidscheveen. Because the entire Netherlands is now full of this type of home, and because houses on vinex locations do not stand out in terms of originality, and also because the market was ready for something else, we were offered the opportunity to develop something different. And we did so successfully.
The Conservatory homes are based on the old-fashioned ‘lean-to’. Part of the charm of country villages in France, for example, is their simplicity in terms of mass and material. The clustered lean-to shapes are almost a natural part of the landscape. These qualities were the starting point for our conservatory cottages. We made the houses ‘sober’ on the outside and ‘rich’ on the inside – a rough diamond. Rich on the inside means more content in the home, so a greater surface area and higher ceilings.
Detail on the façades was kept sober and inexpensive, so that this part of the budget could be devoted to the interior.
All types of home were based on a module of six metres square. By linking these modules in different ways, we could create homes of six by eighteen metres or twelve by twelve meters. Connecting these variants at random and abandoning the building line created a richly varied, country-style result. Every module of six by six metres can be used as a living-room, bedroom, workroom, kitchen or dining room, making all sorts of arrangements possible. It is also possible to stack three modules vertically. For this Dutch situation, we introduced a conservatory to create a light ‘outdoor room’ around which the other rooms are gathered. There is an introvert conservatory and an extravert conservatory that has direct contact with the street.
For Leidschenveen, it was decided to build all types from brick. The basic design can also be built with a façade clad in wood or metal sheeting.