10 April 2024 – This week the Canadian Architect website published the article written by Ivee Yiyao Wang, Beyond making nice buildings, what can architects do for public housing? The notion of public housing is changing in today’s social and economic context. Ivee focuses on the transformation of the 704 apartments in Rotterdam Ommoord. She very clearly demonstrates how the various conceivable levels of intervention are set against the payback possibilities. It is great to see that after 15 years the projects is developing into text book material.

But what can architects do for housing? Fortunately, Ivee doesn’t make things simpler than they are: ‘The housing crisis is a multi-layered problem that requires systematic solutions. As professionals leading direct responses to this crisis, architects have a holistic understanding of public housing that can make them valuable players in collaborative teams addressing the crisis. The knowledge, experience, and skills of architects can help alleviate financial burdens, optimize long-term returns, and generate industry-wide advancement.’

There is no quick fix. Good housing ≠ neat house plans. The Ommoord project was the result of patience, knowledge, skill, tenacity and talent among multiple parties. Housing construction = integration.