Working together to build a new living environment
The city of Eindhoven is growing rapidly. And that means not only more residents but also greater pressure on the housing market. The need for housing—that's within biking distance of downtown and affordable for middle-income residents—has been and remains great. Rental and sales properties will be built in Vredeoord, the new neighborhood on the northwestern side of the city. There's also room for self-build. People can build (or commission the construction of) their own homes on one or more lots.
How is a new home or residential quarter created? Usually, the primary focus is the design of the home or housing units. This involves considerations like how it will look, how much space is available, how big the backyard will be, and whether there will be a driveway for the car. Collective Private Commissioning group meer&deel turned that approach on its head. The idea being that we're not building houses but a residential neighborhood. And for that residential neighborhood, certain values are central. Specifically: a healthy balance between autonomy and connection, the strength of the collective, space for the indefinable, and upholding responsible and natural living. These are the foundational, core values that guided the meer&deel housing development. A complex of five buildings with houses and apartments for forty households, built on what was originally seventeen lots, in the new Eindhoven neighborhood of Vredeoord. Developed by and for the people who actually live there.
About Atelier to the BoneAtelier to the Bone is Philippe Rol, Beerd Gieteling, and Jeroen van Aerle. Three designers and makers who share a deep fascination about how people use and interact with their environment. Fueled by that motivation, they develop buildings and interiors designed for living, working, and relaxing. They regard architecture as a social binder.
Apart from meer&deel, Atelier to the Bone's designs include the interior of Broeinest at Strijp-S, a new office building for Driessen HRM in Helmond, and a new kind of fence called "Schuttingtaal," (fence talk) that strengthens the bonds between neighbors.
To learn more, visit attb.nl.
About Van Tuijn Stedenbouw Landschap en Onderzoek
Van Tuijn Stedenbouw Landschap en Onderzoek is a studio for urban design, research, and strategy. The studio operates from the belief that lasting solutions are based on collective experiences. So this requires more than just a fancy product. A vital guiding principle is creating a connection between the plan or design and the public realm.
Van Tuijn Stedenbouw Landschap en Onderzoek is involved in projects like the residential quarter Djept in Veldhoven, the cooperative area development of the NRE site in Eindhoven, and the area development of the site of the former tobacco factory in Eersel.
Visit tomvantuijn.com to learn more about it.
Werkstatt Architects aims to create attractive and healthy buildings that are a pleasure to live, work, learn, and play in. They're keen to contribute to the development of the living environment, bringing out the best in every project with their inventive spirit and ambition. As an architectural firm, Werkstatt has extensive knowledge of building with advanced wood construction techniques.Werkstatt's designs include the Charcoal House in Rotterdam, de Zevensprong Elementary School in Best, and 120 houses and eighty apartments on the site of the former brick factory in Ooij.
Check out werkstatt.nu to find out more.
‘‘"Humans are social animals. So, it's entirely illogical that most new construction projects fail to take into account who will be living there in the future. A CPC is a great answer to that. You shape the collective and the future living environment together."’’Philippe Rol | Atelier to the Bone
How it started
Through Trudo, the landowner of the Vredeoord neighborhood terrain, Stan Gerrits, Wouter van Niel, and Philippe Rol were introduced to the possibility of self-building in this new neighborhood by Fiona Jongejans of Morgenmakers, a social design agency. They knew each other from their studies at TU/e, and fit the target group precisely. As young guys, they were struggling to find affordable sales properties near downtown. What's more, they weren't looking for a standard house with the conventional fence, shed, and dwelling but for a way to live that would enable a deeper connection with the environment and the area neighbors. Through a CPC (Collective Private Commissioning) group, they banded together and began researching the possibilities for building homes to their liking at Vredeoord. They wanted affordable housing that considered their sustainability and connectivity wishes and requirements.
Under the banner of CPC meer&deel, the collective began exploring several options. Using Lego bricks, they puzzled over the layout of the different lots. Because who says you can only put one home on one lot? To keep the homes affordable, a more creative layout of the land makes more sense. The more homes there are on one lot, the more people there will be to share the costs. In the end, a shard-shaped section consisting of seventeen lots at the edge of the area appeared to be the most logical site for meer&deel. Trudo and the CPC signed a reservation agreement. The next step was to find participants to join the collective. This is because a CPC bears the entire cost of the research, development, and construction process.
‘‘"It was an intense journey. I'm not sure I would do it again. But I'm so proud of what we've created together."’’Stan Gerrits | CPC meer&deel
About the process
How do you create a new home or residential quarter? Usually, the primary focus is the design of the home or housing units. This involves considerations like how it will look, how much space is available, how big the backyard will be, and whether there will be a driveway for the car. CPC meer&deel turned that approach on its head. The idea being that we're not building houses but a residential neighborhood. And for that residential neighborhood, certain values are central. Specifically: a healthy balance between autonomy and connection, the strength of the collective, space for the indefinable, and upholding responsible and natural living. These are the foundational, core values that guided the meer&deel housing development.
Their clear vision and core values helped find new members for the CPC. At first, there was no design or specific plan for exactly what this new residential neighborhood or housing would look like. The vision and values gave people confidence in the plan, and the energy of the project initiators sparked enthusiasm. And that's important for the success of a project like this. As a CPC participant, you're taking quite a risk. Even if the plan fails, the architect and city planner still need to be paid.
Without a doubt, the vision and core values are great and important. But ultimately, they have to be translated into more tangible plans. How did CPC meer&deel and the design team, consisting of Atelier to the Bone, city planner Tom van Tuijn, and architectural firm Werkstatt go about doing that? In 2020, the design team developed a workbook from workshops held with the future residents. This contained a more tangible elaboration of the core values formulated earlier, in the form of intentions regarding quality homes, a connection to nature, social & diverse, and a healthy living environment. It also listed what the project's residents will and will not share. For example, no to shared living rooms, kitchens, bedrooms, and sanitary facilities, but yes to common storage/laundry rooms and bike storage (per eight households), a guest room, meeting space, a DIY space (with all forty households), and shared cars or energy.
An important part of the workbook was the translation of core values and intentions into practical "ground rules" for the design of the meer&deel project. Take the core value of establishing "a healthy balance between autonomy and connection." The buildings feature private spaces in addition to shared spaces. However, based on the CPC's core values and vision, there was also a strong need to make the the transitions between places "soft," through a height difference, porch, or a strategically placed tree, rather than "hard," via a fence or a wall. Another ground rule was born out of the need to provide a place that could accomodate different people while remaining affordable. Thus was born the idea for three different housing types, each with a unique size and price tag.
The design team consulted the ground rules from the workbook as input when designing the buildings for meer&deel. The CPC participants remained actively involved throughout every stage of the process. Several subcommittees were busy researching topics like energy, gardens, sharing, and mobility. There was also a Joys & Sorrows Committee, because researching, developing, and building a new living environment and shared buildings together was not always easy. The Joys & Sorrows Committee kept tabs on the various CPC members throughout the process.
New residential quarters are typically developed by building contractors, housing cooperatives, or non-building developers. A CPC is a collective of laypeople who do it all themselves. This is a new approach to development that's on the rise. But how do you make sure everyone has a good understanding of what's going on? Designer Philippe Rol of Atelier to the Bone devised a creative solution. Using vlogs, Roy was able to explain the often very technically complicated topics, such as the construction of an apartment complex on the site. CPC members watched the vlogs as often as needed. If questions remained, the designer could respond with a single targeted answer.
Construction on the meer&deel housing development commenced in 2022. The aim is to complete the project in 2023.
The construction of the homes is not the only outcome of the CPC group meer&deel. The process in itself is also a design challenge. The association of (future) residents was and is constantly thinking about their approach, how to make decisions properly, what committees are required, and so on. The CPC group's way of working represents a unique design solution that's perfectly tailored to this project. So the approach is not so easy to copy on a one-to-one basis for other CPC projects. The residents were the creative force in this, along with the design team, the CPC supervisor De Loods, and other consultants.
De frisse blik van een ontwerper zorgt voor verrassende oplossingen voor de meest uiteenlopende uitdagingen. Wil je meer weten over de mogelijkheden van ontwerpkracht voor jouw project?Neem contact met ons op!