YPENBURG, THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS
Since the 1990s low-rise, dense setting housing construction has spread in the Netherlands. In Ypenburg, a suburban area near The Hague, the Waterwijk neighbourhood has been developed by different architects and urban planners. The planning on water became an alternative and experimental solution for suburban development.
An archipelago of islands with houses on them has shaped the Waterwijk neighbourhood. The unique housing typologies developed by different design teams expanded the architectural diversity in the neighbourhood. These suburban typologies vary from housing blocks to patio houses, garden houses, luxury villas, reed and row houses. All of them create a water-focused environment, an attractive and experimental neighbourhood.
The master plan of Waterwijk and a few typology groups have been designed by MVRDV. Hagen Island identified with colourful houses has a unique low-cost social housing concept. The arrangement of the houses creates numerous cross-views that strengthen the communication and avoid density. Gardens placed between the houses form a green and pedestrian-friendly environment and support social opportunities. By pushing vehicle roads to the outer edges of the island, architects created a car-free and child-friendly neighbourhood.
Houses have been designed with a minimum variety of materials and details to minimize costs and achieve a unique architectural typology. They have very simple however highly-adaptable plan layouts which allow easy reinterpretation.