Housing Group in Almere
This waterside Dutch housing scheme was realized as part of the building exhibition Expo 2001. The architects developed a modular system that allows the design of dwellings with individual layouts and with a bold three-dimensional appearance. In addition to a row of detached houses, the scheme includes terraced houses in groups of 2 to 6 units. Surrounded by water, the projecting terraces resemble the decks of a ship. The broad areas of fenestration allow extensive views out, but are not screened against overlooking – a phenomenon that is generally accepted in the Netherlands. The sculptural volumes are an expression of the occupants’ individuality. The basic module is formed by two stacked concrete elements, each 6 ? 10 m on plan and three metres high. By offsetting the units to each other, a 2.5-metre-wide terrace is formed, and the addition of a third storey allows a roof terrace to be created. In the case of the detached houses, the sculptural effect is heightened by turning the storey units at right angles to each other. Additional prefabricated steel-frame box elements 2.5 x 6 m on plan can be added at various points. Contrasted with the slate-clad basic structure, the coated plywood surfaces of these elements identify them as extensions. The positions of the kitchen, bathroom and stairs were left open as long as possible to accommodate different lifestyles.