Housing Developments (Schots) 1 and 2 in Groningen
In contrast to the urban sprawl often associated with housing in the Netherlands, or the large-scale schemes on dockland sites in cities like Amsterdam and Rotterdam – schemes that bear little relationship to the rest of the city – Groningen in the north of the country is pursuing a policy of contextual extension within the existing fabric. Altogether, some 13 plots of land (so-called “schots” or ice floes) in derelict industrial areas are to be rehabilitated and developed in the next four years. The first two of these have been implemented by the team of young architects S333. Located in the middle of the city, the developments are nevertheless removed from disturbing street noise and pedestrian traffic. The layout of the building volumes and their modern, yet entirely appropriate architectural language show the neighbourhood to be a self-assured urban subcentre. At the same time, the schemes are integrated into the existing fabric of canals and traditional brick buildings, as if they had always been there.