The Smaaktuin, custom-designed housing round a communal courtyard garden

The Smaaktuin is situated in De Veemarkt, a new, sustainable residential area in Utrecht: it comprises thirty-seven custom-designed owner-occupied housing units and four social housing units round a courtyard garden. The residents themselves determined the finished appearance of their homes while at the same time benefiting from a project-based approach.

Early in the development process workshops were organised for and by potential occupants during the course of which they voiced their preferences regarding their ideal neighbourhood. De Zwarte Hond used these as its basis for the urban development plan at block level that accommodated the need for parking facilities, private gardens, verandas and a collective garden. The residents then determined what their homes should look like. Five architects each devised a special home, from which the residents selected three definitive designs during the workshops: the greenhouse by Marc Koehler, the robust warehouse by Groosman and the modern town house by De Zwarte Hond. Within these three principle designs the residents could choose from several façade finishings, window arrangements, extensions, constructions, layouts and different types of external space. The plot and the many design options were clearly set out in 3D via a website, which also showed the total sale price. This concept produced thirty-seven unique housing units which, collectively, would determine the blueprint for the neighbourhood. Unity in the plan is created by coordinating the materials and by keeping the verandas and outhouses in the same style.

Click here for more photos and information of the project.

For more information please contact Bart van Kampen.