Almere is a young city, built in a reclaimed polder - the Flevopolder - in the middle of the Netherlands. Almere-Haven, the neighbourhood in which the Garden House lies, is spacious, and green. Living in natural environment is its core quality. After 40 years, however, the neighbourhood is in need of a transformation, to accommodate its aging residents. The Garden House, with its 27 social housing apartments, is the first stage of that transformation.
Its starting point is a compact building surrounded by a large, collective garden. Due to its compactness, the building occupies a minimal amount of space and is situated on the lot as a large, free-standing house. A house in a garden - a garden house. The residences have front doors opening onto a central hall in the middle of the building. This hall is designed with distinctive colors and materials and is the collective heart of the building. In addition to the central hall, the Garden House is oriented towards the green living environment. Houses in the neighbourhood are hemmed in by front gardens and back gardens; the Garden House's encircling balconies serve that purpose, with each room opening out on to them. They offer the residents an outdoor extension that they had in their previous house with a garden. The building is constructed as a compact wooden volume of residences surrounded by a load bearing concrete structure with balconies circling the building. Its vertical elements are made of washed gravel concrete and provide space for many facilities: rainwater is captured in the hollow column, and planters are integrated into the balcony partitions. Finally, the balcony storage is housed in a half shell. The residential balconies in the Garden House are an effective proxy for the gardens in the houses residents left behind. The building offers a new horizon to residents entering a new phase in their lives. Its robust architecture allows them the freedom to make the space between inside and outside their own.

27 Apartments
Client - De Alliantie Ontwikkeling; Contractor - Friso Aannemingsmaatschappij BV; Construction - Strackee Bouwadvies BV, Ingenieursburo Meijer & Joustra BV; Concrete - Prefab Beton Soest; Completion 2012; Photography - Stefan Muller

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