Oranjeboomstraat is a long avenue running through the Rotterdam Feijenoord district. Once it was a stately lane with narrowly parcelled housing on both sides. Larger public buildings, such as churches and schools, introduced variety to this repetitive pattern. Especially on the north side of Oranjeboomstraat these houses have been replaced by varying kinds of new build, all of which neglected the historic parcelling structure. The houses on the south side have been renovated. Much of the original architectural finesse has been lost.
The task was to make a design for two plots at the south side of Oranjeboomstraat on upkeep side of a school and a small house. The design was conceptualized by the House with Two Doors. As in the historic houses, the doors allow access to ground floor house and maisonettes on the second floor. A passage between Oranjeboomstraat and Rose Park was made at the north side of the school. The façades reflect the vertical organization. They are formal and light, disguising the typology. The dwellings are cladded with different types of brick.
Purple bricks in tile bond establish a strong plinth and bay-window like motifs with different heights. The bricks above the plinths have different colours. These differentiations have been applied differently in each block. The dimensions chosen do not merely relate to the historic houses, but also to the school building. The plinths were required as an adaptive measure in this unembanked area of Rotterdam. The ground floor is above flood level and bridges the difference between the level of the street and the rear gardens. The rear of the plot is designed with gardens, bicycle storages, parking facility, tree planting and small meeting places.
The jury of the Rotterdam Architecture Award wrote: ‘By nominating the Houses with Two Doors the jury expresses its approval of the reintroduction of a 19th century dwelling type. The atmosphere and imagery of an old avenue is repaired and also responds to the needs of a specific group of large families in the social rent housing sector.’
Commission: Woonstad, Rotterdam, 2012-2015