From empty retail spaces to beautiful homes

Due to the large number of vacancies in Assen’s retail district, De Zwarte Hond was commissioned to find a new use for the first floor of the Forum shopping centre, one of the affected properties.

Located on the east side of the Koopmansplein, Assen’s most prominent square, the Forum occupies an important position and its ground floor sees a lot of activity. In De Zwarte Hond’s design, one storey will be demolished and three storeys will be added to the building. This addition comprises 43 apartments of 45-75 m2 for a varied target group.

By creating a place to stay in the nearby Noordhoek, the new square design by OKRA landscape architects fits in well with the architectural design of De Zwarte Hond. From an urban planning point of view, the large square requires a solid wall. A higher wall makes the square more intimate, the active plinth provides liveliness. Height accents have been applied to the corners, which are characteristic of Assen city centre. The building adapts to the large scale of the square and the small scale of the old city centre. By demolishing the old glass passage, the building is once again part of the fine-meshed nature of the centre and a gateway is created from the Oude Straat towards the Koopmansplein.

De Zwarte Hond has built on the existing foundations and construction of the ground floor, which is why we opted for a light steel construction with wooden walls and floors. A connection to the plinth is created by adopting the vertical rhythm of the arcade and the concrete piers in the façade. A lot of glass and a warm shade of anodised aluminum were chosen for the exterior façade. An alternating rhythm of wooden loggias and glass fronts is visible from the square. The interior facade and gallery made of wood provide a soft and warm interior world, where the chosen material contributes to the atmosphere and acoustics. The shared roof garden, a meeting place for residents, completes the building – a great assignment that contributes to a sustainable re-use and transformation of vacant buildings.

The transformation of Koopmansplein is a collaboration with ABTWassenaar (building physics) and Goudstikker de Vries (construction). Forum Vastgoed BV is the client.