Spuiboulevard Dordrecht

Dordrecht, NL

How can new construction boost an old city centre?



Aerial view of the city hall, 1970s

The new Spuiboulevard seen from Johan de Wittstraat, 1980s. Photo: municipal print collection

In the 1960s, the Spuiboulevard in Dordrecht was redeveloped into a modern office avenue in order to keep the centre easily accessible for motorized traffic. This intervention was part of the major urban redevelopment of that period. In addition to plenty of space for cars, a new size and scale was introduced to this part of the city, notably in the form of an office programme. The current city hall, the Crownpoint building and the De Hellingen building are all part of this development.

The larger scale breaks with the small scale and fine mesh of the historic city centre and the surrounding 19th-century ‘shell’.

The Spuiboulevard forms the link between the historic centre of Dordrecht and the 19th-century shell to the south. It’s time for a change. The offices there are outdated and their grain size is too big, meaning that they don’t fit in with the historic city centre and the 19th-century shell. In addition, there is increasing demand for homes, plus a desire to attract new target groups to Dordrecht.

In the western half of the Spuiboulevard, sub-area 2, space will become available at the location of the Crownpoint building, De Hellingen building and the current city hall, because the civil servants will move into the new city and region hall. The development of the new city and region hall in sub-area 1 of the Spuiboulevard is a condition for the developments in sub-area 2.

Carefully placed height accents respect the sight lines to the church tower

Building blocks provide space for Dordrecht’s courtyards with their distinctive quality

The reintroduction of a fine-meshed urban structure better connects the area with the 19th-century shell and the historic city centre.

By taking into account important cables and pipes, property structures and trees, the plan can be realized flexibly.

A continuous building line and a varied façade along the Spuiboulevard bring the eastern and western parts of the avenue together.

Compact public spaces and two larger squares provide sunny and shaded areas along the boulevard.

A careful urban insertion
The historical context and the previously outlined principles and starting points determine the urban insertion of the new residential complex in its environment. The new development borders a number of important urban structures in Dordrecht.

A framework plan for inner-city densification

The residential environment is fine-meshed, urban, car-free and has a high density in addition to a high-quality appearance in its public space, courtyards and buildings. It reads as a whole, but also offers space for individual expression at building level. People also live on the ground floor, with special attention being paid to the transition between inside and outside. The houses activate the adjacent public space. The public space is green, of high quality and contributes to fulfilling ambitions concerning biodiversity, climate adaptation and ecology.

Good public space

Spacious communal courtyards

A flexible framework with fixed values

Different grain sizes per block

An ensemble of three development units

The planning area is easily accessible using multiple modes of transport

This inner-city residential area is car-free

Adjacent buildings differ in height

A real Dordrecht living environment: as in the historic city centre, people live on the ground floor too here, and each house has its own front door directly on the street. The rich detailing and use of brick as the main façade material also ensure a connection with the environment. The landscaped public space makes it comfortable in various weather conditions. Courtyard entrances are carefully designed as part of the façade and corner buildings form a special termination of the building block in connection with their neighbouring buildings.

Dordrecht has several historic examples of courtyards.
The historic examples form an inspiration for the new living environment of the Spuiboulevard. By activating and greening the banks of the Spuihaven, the currently harsh dividing line between the city centre and 19th-century shell will become a place of meeting and relaxation. The green squares located along the Spuiboulevard provide liveliness because there is also room for functions other than living here. The courtyards form the quiet counterpart, where visitors feel like guests. Both types of public space restore the coherence between east and west areas of the shell, and between the 19th-century shell and the heart of the city.

Spacious, accessible and characterful Dordrecht courtyards, with plenty of room for greenery and climate adaptation

Spuiboulevard Dordrecht

On 20 December 2022, Dordrecht City Council adopted the plan that forms the basis for future developments of Sub-area 2 of Spuiboulevard. De Zwarte Hond supported the municipality of Dordrecht in drawing up the urban development framework and image quality plan. The plan covers an area of approximately 4.1 hectares and enables a transformation into an attractive and varied inner-city residential environment with mixed functions. The plan stems from the Spuiboulevard area vision of 2018, the starting point of which was to enliven the area and to connect the station and the city centre. Spuiboulevard, dating from the 1960s, forms the link between the historic city centre and the 19th-century shell. The structure is based on a main design of three building blocks with communal courtyards. The existing buildings are integrated into the new building blocks. By starting from several urban building blocks, a fine-meshed network of informal routes for pedestrians and cyclists is created. In accordance with the area vision, the building blocks together form an ensemble for urban living and comprise a mixed urban living environment.


Spuiboulevard Dordrecht
Dordrecht, NL
4,1 ha
Gemeente Dordrecht
Urban Design
De Zwarte Hond
More info