Urban living within the intimacy of a neighbourhood

An intimate living atmosphere within informal inner areas, a wayward skyline and a diverse program; this is the essence of the concept that KCAP together with Bouwinvest, Era Contour and Jeroen Schipper developed for the 'Parkstad' competition. In Mid-2016, the municipality of Rotterdam announced the competition for developing 250 new housing and rental homes in the Remisehof, an area between the Kop van Zuid and the Afrikaanderwijk. Diversity in size, layout and housing prices were stipulated to attract different income groups to the Remisehof.

Residential quarter with diversity
The concept KCAP submitted for the competition has the character of a residential quarter. A large variety of housing would offer residents of the Afrikaanderwijk and Feyenoord the opportunity to transfer, as well as provide affordable housing to first-time homebuyers and families. As such, the number of single-family houses and dwellings is maximized, whilst the urban street with stacked apartments and dwelling is realized on the Laan op Zuid.

Wayward skyline
A contour with slender turrets to underline corners and axes, more closed housing blocks, alternating with small-scale blocks that are subtly differentiated in size and architecture. Vibrancy, accents in height and a variety in volume and grain provide for a friendly and appropriate response with a wayward skyline.

Informal inner areas for an intimate living atmosphere
The specially designed inner areas in Parkstad offer an intimacy that is translated into a living environment for people who want to live in an urban environment, but appreciate the social aspects of a neighbourhood. Each inner area has a specific character and identity: the western one presents itself as a residential street, the middle one has a more public character in the form of an orchard and the eastern area is characterised as a court. Compact zones regulate the transition from the private areas into the semi-public inner areas. As a counterpart to the semi-public areas, the private backyards provide the residents with privacy.

Connection and education
While designing the semi-public areas of the district, a connection was made with the societal challenge of Afrikaanderwijk and Feyenoord areas, particularly in relation to health-related issues. Therefore, one of the inner areas is arranged as a playful vegetable garden. In another part of the district three inner areas are decorated with fruit trees. The first comprises of an intimate residential street in which berry and nut shrubs are planted, whilst the second and third comprise of a central orchard with low-hanging cherry trees and a courtyard containing pergolas of apple and pear trees. In all cases, the residents are the ones managing the areas. This approach aims to connect residents in an informal way.  

Social sustainability
Designing for the Afrikaanderwijk and Kop van Zuid as a dynamic area requires special attention to social sustainability to create one resilient district. This can be done, for example, by creating spatially and programmatically profound living environments in which people feel connected. The interaction between building and environment is an important prerequisite for a vibrant and safe public domain. Maximising the number of dwellings will ensure this. Furthermore, the dwellings on the Laan op Zuid are designed to integrate living and working at home, thus generating liveliness in the neighbourhood during the daytime.

Residents will be involved in the development of their environment through a variety of choices and options that make the houses their own. Options that can increase the satisfaction of living and which provide the homes with individuality and identity, such as balconies and conservatories are offered too.

Last but not least, a diversity of housing types will attract a melting pot of people who together create a sustainable and tolerant neighbourhood. Furthermore, it will give the residents the opportunity to move within the district as family status, financial strength or physical ability require. In this way the district maintains important social networks and creates a truly resilient neighbourhood.