02JUL 2012

Ginkgo project / Casanova+Hernandez Architects

Posted in Architecture - Housing by FORMAKERS

Ginkgo project combines art, technology and architecture to integrate a housing complex in the nature of the existing park located in front. CONTEXT AND PROGRAM The project is located near the natural park of Veluwe in the Netherlands with views over an old church and the central park of the small town.

© Christian Richters
The urban structure of Beekbergen, much like most small towns in the Netherlands, is composed mainly of large single family houses that are not affordable for young people or suitable for older people with mobility problems. ‘Ginkgo’ project explores the possibilities of providing affordable housing for different target groups thanks to its compact housing complex, which is physically and visually integrated in its context.

© Christian Richters
The site is an interesting space located between two zones with very different characters: a green park on one side and an urban, post-war neighborhood built in the 50’s on the other side. The program consists of apartments to sell, basically for starters and people over the age of 65 and park-houses to rent.

© Christian Richters
CONCEPT The project is based on a careful dialog between two skins that respond to the border conditions on both sides of the location: 1- The “Green Skin” The transparency of the facade facing the park including the long balconies along the apartment block and generous terracing of the park-houses connect the dwellings both visually and physically with the park. The glazed facade has been specially designed with a print of Ginkgo Biloba tree leaves of different green and yellow tones that react to the constant changing light of the sky creating very special effects, reflections, shadows and silhouettes, depending on the time of the day and the season of the year. This enables privacy along the balconies and terraces, while ensuring visual connection between the outdoor spaces and the park.

© Christian Richters
Almost each printed panel of the facade is unique in order to avoid visual repetition creating a natural and organic continuous image of vegetation that wraps across the whole facade. The printed glazed facade works as a virtual green facade that integrates the building into the greenery of the park and reduces its visual impact in the surroundings, thus giving to the building an iconic image of lightness and immateriality.

© Christian Richters
2 The “Urban Skin” This skin wrapping the building along its front responds to the urban character of its context. The proportions of the openings of the facade and the use of brick that creates a more massive appearance to the building help the project to establish a subtle dialog with the existing post-war buildings in the neighborhood. THE BUILDING THE APARTMENT BLOCK The apartment block is a compact building created by several concentric functional rings.

© Christian Richters
The vertical circulation core in the center of the block is surrounded by a first ring of collective circulation that provides access to the apartments. The second ring concentrates all the required services of the apartments (toilets, bathrooms, kitchens, storage and installation shafts) in order to create a continuous free space in the third ring where the living areas of the house are placed.

© Christian Richters
This ring is a flexible space that can be divided in many ways to offer different layouts for different ways of living. The housing types can vary from spacious lofts to three-room apartments.

© Casanova+Hernandez Architects
The fourth ring is generated by the outdoor spaces of the houses, which are defined by long panoramic balconies surrounding the apartments facing the park and individual balconies that bring random rhythm to the facade facing the urban side. THE PARK-HOUSES The park-houses are designed with an extra large terrace along the upper levels with views over the park. At ground level the large glazed facade visually connects the living room with the park.

© Christian Richters
A relatively small terrace on this level is only separated from the park by a modest slope that invites the users to use the park as their own back garden, thus providing a direct visual and physical connection between living room, private terrace and public park. The semi-buried parking that covers the required parking necessities of the whole complex is hidden underneath a small hill that also guarantees privacy within the park-houses in a natural way.

© Christian Richters


Woningstichting Beter Wonen, Loenen

Design team:
Casanova+Hernandez Architects

Christian Richters



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