Different Approach to Housing – 15 projects selected

In the Open Call Different Approach to Housing, 15 projects were selected. The call is the second in a series of six calls spread over four years within the Action Agenda for Spatial Design. Programme manager Chris van Langen reflects on the open call.

12 May 2022

general impression

The objective of the open call was to obtain proposals to develop innovative perspectives, strategies and solutions for the complex housing challenge in the Netherlands, using design research at different levels of scale. The call resulted in a multitude and breadth of collaborations, some of them surprising. Most importantly, however, the open call produced an inspiring and relevant spectrum of projects, which together provide a fairly complete range of design-based solution directions for the housing challenge.

Firstly, there are a considerable number of projects that focus on densification, in cities, towns and villages. In the cities, significant attention is paid to post-war neighbourhoods, but also to the combination of living and working in inner cities or business parks. In addition, many projects on collective living (including housing cooperatives) were submitted, there were two projects on Community Land Trust and a number of projects that put the coexistence of people with nature and/or agriculture on the agenda. In a number of applications, attention was requested for the housing needs of specific target groups (such as the elderly), partly in the context of the need for housing mobility, or for meeting the housing challenge with temporary, flexible or modular solutions. Finally, it is noteworthy that three projects were submitted that focus specifically on the habitation of existing roofs and three projects that put learning from and/or working with foreign countries on the agenda in relation to solving the housing challenge.

There is also significant diversity in other areas. This applies, for example, to the set-up and methodology of the proposals, but also to the applicants. The submissions include proposals from established designers who have been working on the theme of housing for some time, as well as up-and-coming designers who are still exploring the task. In addition, the submitted proposals have a reasonable degree of regional distribution. Interestingly, a number of submissions propose investigating the issue in different locations, which would then allow for more widely applicable conclusions.

At the same time, it should be noted that some of the proposals could have been more in-depth, for example in terms of the development or further development of cooperative living or in determining the usefulness of ‘toolboxes’. Also, focus on the climate challenge and the diversity of the contemporary city is disappointingly meagre, in light of the theme of this open call.

Drijvend Bouwen - PosadMaxwan

The diversity in relevant sub-themes and applicants, as well as the regional distribution, is also reflected in the selection of the 15 projects. The breadth of the selection is demonstrated in the following three projects:

In plak ûnder de sinne - NOHNIK
For NOHNIK, the housing challenge is about building housing that contributes to close-knit communities, achieves a good quality of life and high spatial quality, and provides perspective for diverse target groups. In ‘In plak ûnder de sinne’, this task is examined for the province of Friesland. In addition, design research is used to develop a broad range of solutions on the one hand, and on the other as a means to encourage the involvement of local residents in the process. The research task focuses on the Frisian villages and countryside where the task is multifaceted and complex. The project aims to use innovative housing concepts to provide an answer to the diverse Frisian housing challenge, which fits the DNA and capacity of a village, place and community, and takes into account improving the sustainability of the housing stock and a climate-adaptive living environment. After a kick-off, an analysis of the region and analyses of the three selected villages, the project will work towards achieving a toolbox for living environments. This toolbox is then used to create a sample implementation for each of the three villages. The results of the research, which includes collaboration with the Province of Friesland, Municipality of Súdwest-Fryslân and Dorps Ontwikkelings Maatschappij Friesland, will be shared in a publication.

Living Lab Boerhaavewijk: a new look at the post-war neighbourhood - AP+E and Studio dmau
According to AP+E and Studio dmau, the Boerhaave neighbourhood in Haarlem, built in the 1960s and 1970s, faces a considerable number of challenges, such as improving the existing housing and making it more sustainable, greening the public space, densifying and tackling complex social problems. The proposal builds on existing AP+E research in the neighbourhood by establishing a Living Lab in the community centre. Its presence will be the starting point for an iterative process of observation, design research and dialogue in and together with the neighbourhood, and the aspirations and desires of residents will be imagined, in consultation with the city architect, municipality, housing corporations and other local parties such as school boards and healthcare institutions. From there, scenarios will be developed for the transformation of Boerhaave into a sustainable and inclusive neighbourhood, within the Environmental Vision of the Municipality of Haarlem. This makes it possible to identify and connect the many tasks and ambitions in the neighbourhood as a whole. The knowledge gained will be compiled in a publication and shared with a wider network, including via a symposium at ABC Haarlem.

Learning from… Germany - Marieke Kums
Marieke Kums (STUDIO MAKS) is investigating how the housing-cooperative model can develop as a mainstream housing alternative in the Netherlands. Despite the potential of this form of housing, its actual application in the Netherlands is only very gradually getting off the ground. Legal and financial obstacles play an important role here. This is in contrast to Germany where 30 per cent of the housing stock is cooperative. Marieke Kums analyzes the state of affairs in the Netherlands and makes an overview of the factors that stand in the way of the housing-cooperative model. She then examines 12 successful German examples by means of data research, interviews with stakeholders, and site visits. The results are elaborated in a comparative diagram of key factors that she transfers to the Dutch context. The knowledge gained is then applied at two specific locations in Nijmegen and Tilburg by developing concept designs for two housing cooperatives in collaboration with municipalities. She also works together with parties such as Bundesverband Baugemeinschaften, Superuse, Platform31, Cooplink, Vrijcoop, Ecodorp Boekel and Talis Housing Corporation. The results will be included in a digital publication and an animation.

The following projects were also selected:

- Kansen voor het Community Land Trust model in Nederland
And The People
- Bouwen aan een gezonde leefstijl
- De Ceuvel 3.0, De regeneratieve samenleving van de toekomst in de circulaire wijk van Amsterdam Noord
Metabolic Partners B.V.
- De zachte kaart van Oostenburg - hoogstedelijk samenleven in de praktijk
Urhahn Urban Design
- Drijvend Bouwen
- Woonstroom: het huisvesten van woonculturen in beweging
Studio Stad
- Designing a Vrijplaats: Creating Space in Unaffordable Cities
Lukas Engelhardt
- Behoefte aan ruimte?
Atelier van Berlo
- Crossing borders - door anders te werken aan wonen
VOIDS urbanism
De Bever Architecten
- Woonlandschappen; wonen in combinatie met natuurontwikkeling
Studio Marco Vermeulen
- Buurtschap fabricage

assessment and selection
All the applications received were submitted for advice to an independent committee consisting of Like Bijlsma, Lyongo Juliana, Eva Pfannes and Johan Snel. They assessed the proposals on the following criteria: the relevance of the question, the quality of the planned approach, the degree of innovation, the expertise and relevance of the parties involved and, finally, the method of knowledge sharing of results (including intermediate results).

For the Open Call Different Approach to Housing, the Fund took 72 applications into consideration. With 15 positively approved proposals, the percentage of applications receiving grants comes to 21%. These projects involve a total requested sum of € 449,895; this amounts to an average contribution of just under € 30,000 per supported project.

follow-up procedure
On 18 May 2022, the third open call within the Action Agenda for Spatial Design was launched: Building from the ground up. This call is for proposals for design research into an integrated approach to current and future urbanization issues in which the underground water and soil systems engage in a productive relationship with the urban systems above the ground. Until 26 September 2022, multidisciplinary coalitions with a spatial designer as lead applicant can submit their proposals.

The Open Call Different Approach to Housing is the second call issued within the Spatial Design Action Programme. This four-year programme offers multidisciplinary coalitions the opportunity to use an integrated design approach to investigate how to address extensive spatial-transition processes and improve the spatial quality of the Netherlands. The Fund is an important implementation partner of the programme and issues two open calls each year, the content of which is in line with the major tasks as identified in the National Environment Vision (NOVI). The programme has an annual budget of € 2.4 million. The Action Agenda for Spatial Design is an initiative of the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science.

Woonlandschappen; wonen in combinatie met natuurontwikkeling - Studio Marco Vermeulen