Five apartment blocks have been realized on a site that formerly housed a school building. Two contain 64 age-friendly apartments which are managed by housing corporation Arcade. The other three house 119 intramural care apartments of health care provider Saffier. Communal facilities such as a restaurant, a hairdresser and a physiotherapist are located on the ground floors and are also open to the neighbourhood.
Moerwijk is a typical Dudok neighbourhood. The urban tissue is in between building blocks and a “stamp” plan. The neighbourhood has mainly a green character with, on various locations, different volumes with an equally different programme. Originally, on the location where now there is Westhovenplein, an high school was situated.
The starting points were formulated in a workshop with all involved parties. Here, additional to the residential programme, the social value was deemed pivotal. In short: creating a community. This led to the concept “living together, caring together”.
The five apartment blocks are placed at an angle to each other rather than orthogonally, creating an interesting play of views. Both the buildings and interior hallways have rounded corners resulting in a more spacious atmosphere. No fences are surrounding the buildings and garden. Low masonry walls guide residents and visitors to their destination, while simultaneously providing a place to sit.
Much care is put into the selection of materials, colours and details. The volumes are articulated by accentuating the floors using horizontal bands made of a specially designed extruding brick. The large windows ensure that residents can see the communal garden whilst lying down, sitting or standing. This enables less mobile residents to continue to feel connected to their surroundings.
The emergence of the multi-cultural society, ageing, the increase in single households and the related anonymity, require that the city of the future needs to offer space for creating communities. Living together, caring together is in that sense a concept that can be used as a blueprint for many different places.
The project has been rewarded with the Berlage flag and pennant: a prize for the best architecture in The Hague as voted by the jury and public.