The project is part of the newly developed Markiezaten district in Bergen op Zoom.
According to the urban plan the houses should contribute to a “thirties” atmosphere. These kind of romantic hind sight conditions may be popular, but they are not easy to create. It appeals to a neighborhood feeling where kids play freely in the street, watched over by their parents from the window or by neighbors that happen to be in the street as well. All save and happy. It is really a fundamental question how architecture can influence the behavior and atmosphere in a neighborhood, and the color of brick and the detail of the window frame surely can’t be the sole answer.
We think the solution is found in softening the transition from the street to the interior. It is about the gradations of public to private, for which in the thirties smart architectural tools were used, like niches, small walls, planters, bay windows. In the design for the 17 houses, these tools were translated to a contemporary architecture, anchoring the project firmly to its context.
Coming home starts by entering your street. The street has a spatial, green and lush quality and inviting materials. You know your neighbors because you meet them in the street or because they sit in their front garden. You walk along the low wall that separates your front garden from the street and pass through on your own path to your front door. You greet your spouse inside through the bay window before entering. The front door is sheltered from rain by an overhang…. etc.
The site fits 17 standard row houses with a span of 5.40 m. However the brief for the project calls for so-called nultredewoningen which means that the main housing program should be accessible at ground floor level. A double bedroom and bathroom are therefore added to the ground floor. This of course makes it quite a puzzle to still fit 17 houses on the site. The solution we came up with fits the extra program of two houses into one ‘bonus-beuk’. The plans of the two houses interlock as bayonets, within the 10.80 m of two standard spans.
The houses should be suitable for elderly people as well as young couples. Therefore the bathroom and a master bedroom are located on the groundfloor in addition to the living room and kitchen. The bedroom can be used as flexible extension to the living room.