The master plan for the Vinex district of Ypenburg near The Hague included one of the twelve sub-areas with the theme rurality. FARO has translated this into a number of ‘country houses’ with mansard roofs. This ‘mansard country house type’ FARO came up with, can accommodate a lot of different dwellings; large or small, containing one or two dwellings, several apartments, eight terraced houses or a ‘cluster house’.
Rusticity means low density and a rural atmosphere with individuality at every turn. The program, however, calls for high density (VINEX = approx. 40 houses/hectare) and standardization. The challenge is to translate this inherent opposition into a strong design directive. We found the answer in our own backyard: “the villa with the steepled roof” became the inspiration for the layout and design of the neighborhood. Villa-like structures of varying sizes provide a full spectrum of housing options: single-family, duplex, apartments and townhouses.
In the jumble of individual distinctions that dominate modern society a strong identity is pursued in order to express a greater whole. Different buildings in a range of sizes on differing lots: corner, front-to-back, water’s edge. The striking roof-line pulls it all together and forms a collective identity. The appearance of the structure as a whole predominates the individual elements from which it is formed. No cacophony of options, no monotonous repetition; instead, large free-standing structures with character.
There’s a door at either end and two in the middle – thus never too many in a row. At the back a combination of decks, pergolas and sheds form a nice connection to the water. Fences at property lines are permitted but must follow certain guidelines. Each of the 2 middle houses have a small shed at the front which creates an area for a veranda.
Shifting building lines and a need for more variation prompted the choice for the tried and true “kwadrant”. Once again four houses in a row – this time as pairs with roof-lines perpendicular to each other. With the verandas directly on the water a sort of harbor is formed. Storage sheds are incorporated into the verandas and together they give shape and structure to the entrances.