Square De Grienden

Stacked maisonettes and flats at the central square of a new settlement in Puttershoek

Over a period of 11 years, HvdH designed 170 dwellings and a medical centre in the village extension De Grienden. The dwellings form the public space in the axis of the urban scheme: a sequence of two courts on either side of a square which stretches into a neighbourhood park.

The buildings have been constructed in four phases and within six different commissions. In all stages of the project, the simple tectonic choice for prefabricated concrete lintels and gutters and contrasting brickwork shells provide consistency between the different parts of the scheme.

Four buildings, all based on an L-shaped plan, shape a more or less double-symmetric square in the heart of the De Grienden. In order to differentiate the square from the surrounding low-rise architectural tissue, urban dwelling types were introduced.

Stacked maisonettes suggest a threshold between the square and the two adjoining courts. These dwellings are oriented towards the thresholds. Stacked flats have used for the two parking lots perpendicular to the courts. These flats are oriented to shared gardens at the rear. At the square itself continuous verandas and terraces add to the character of public space.

Lukas Imhof wrote in his book Midcomfort: ‘With vaguely known motifs, clearly defined and understandable spaces and a mix of house types, the architects succeeded to supply a piece of common, vernacular and inhabitable city, which has been appropriated by its inhabitants immediately.

Photography: Piet Rook, Vlaardingen