140 SOCIAL DWELLINGS, 30 AFFORDABLE DWELLINGS, DAY CARE, COMMERCIAL AND PUBLIC SPACES | OPEN COMPETITION ORGANISED BY THE CLIENT, 1ST PLACE
“Rozemaai at home” is a plan for 140 social dwellings, 30 affordable dwellings, a day care, commercial facilities and an array of public spaces. The site – Veld 15a – is part of Rozemaai, a postwar extension district of Antwerp in modernist tradition that is undergoing a massive transition carried out by Woonhaven Antwerpen. A masterplan by Buro Lubbers for the whole district includes a new natural park along a re-opened creek, the Donkse Beek. Our proposal strongly relates to the fragmented urban context and in particular to the new landscape of the creek’s valley.
The main contradiction in social housing today is the tension between the necessity for standardization on the one hand and the need for identity on the other. Housing blocks, urban spaces, buildings and units should all be the same for financial reasons and all be different for socio-cultural reasons. Therefore we have chosen to explicitly use this ambiguity in the urban scheme, the building typologies and the architecture of our proposal.
Currently Rozemaai lacks any kind element in the public space that embodies the idea of community. The question therefore is how can we create, both on the level of the city and the dwelling, a home that combines the suburban living qualities with a landscape design that is based on strong ecological connections and accessible green spaces of quality.
“Rozemaai at home” is the result of a search for an environment in which dwellings and inhabitants are part of a larger whole, a Habitat. Neither the modern city with its isolated machines for living nor the traditional city with its perimeter blocks, streets and squares, provide an answer in the context of Rozemaai. The answer lies in residential buildings that relate in an alternative way to one another, to the ground and to the landscape. One does not make a “home” with buildings alone…