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Design studio

Our need for space and the way we use buildings changes faster than our built environment. Three quotes below show how hard it is to predict our future needs, in the long term as well as   in the near future.


Peter Boelhouwer professor housing policy TU Delft (NRC zaterdag 18 april 2020) 

‘Our government has underestimated the housing shortage. In 2013, at the lowest point of the Economic Crisis in the building industry, state architect Frits van Dongen said we could stop building in the Netherlandsaltogether. Three years later his successor Floris Alkemade stated that we should stop building new houses and focus on transforming empty buildings into housing. Two years ago politician Stef Blok (VVD) took pride in being the first minister that abolished the ministry of housing, saying there was no housing shortage anymore.

➔The Housing shortage is big at the moment. Newcomers on the market can’t find an affordable place to live,  middle income groups are leaving the city.


Centraal Bureau Statistiek : Biggest vacant square meters in offices and retail (dec 2019)

In 2019 Retail and Offices were the biggest part of the total of unused building space. There were 3.3 million square meters of “empty” Offices, 6% of the total amount of Office space in the country. In retail the percentage empty space was the same 6% (2.6 million m2). In public buildings, like schools and hospitals,there was around 2% vacant space, more or less the same amount as in 2015.

➔Transformation: Turning shops and office space into housing is slow and there is still a lot of   vacant space unchanged.


Hylco Nijp, arbeidspsycholoog (Volkskrant 03 april 2020)

‘Working from home is easier than expected. Since we crossed this border I expect some people will not want to return to commuting again. Employers’ flexibility has been challenged, employees have proven their skills and the world still turns. Even things we thought you could not do from home, seem to be possible’.  

➔The Corona Crisis changed our perception. ‘Like we jumped from 202 to 2030 in a weekend’. If we will be returning back to “normal”, our use of space might be fundamentally changed.

Project site

“Kop van Isselt” in Amersfoort is the location of the study. For this industrial area a master plan is made that allows for development into a lively urban neighborhood with housing, space for work and leisure. There are numerous spatial aspects to react to with your design: there is a public square, a riverbank, high rise rise and low rise buildings. Students choose one out of three possible building envelopes to design an architectural project with programmatically flexibility for. 

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