Jacob van Lennepstraat 271-297
Marcel van der Lubbe, Jannie Vinke
ANA Architecten
De Alliantie Projectontwikkeling
Voorziening, Wonen

Social housing project ‘Zevenster’

Have you noticed the housing complex the Zevenster on Jacob van Lennepstraat? A row of fourteen contiguous nineteenth-century buildings used to stand on this site. In 2008, a new complex was built with 34 dwellings and a parking garage. The complex conforms to the lines of the former building development.

ANA Architects has designed a brick street frontage for this row of dwellings in the neighbourhood Lootsbuurt, which is in perfect keeping with the rest of the street. Moreover, the façade reveals the diversity of dwelling types that lies behind. The windows are all the same width but are positioned slightly higher or lower in each ‘building’. The railings, which are incorporated in the façade, are subtly detailed and have a strong graphic effect. They act as a safety device in front of the windows and, in between and above, also interrupt the pattern at window width.

At the rear of the complex, in an inner courtyard, the building follows the line of the original development. However, because the old buildings differed as regards width and depth, the new, irregular building line makes the rear side of the complex exciting. The diversity has been utilized here as a condition for dwelling types that vary in size, type of access and exterior space. The rear is rightfully the informal side; all of the dwellings have an exterior space here. The stepped and stacked access systems, the terraces and the alternation between private and collective give rise to a highly diverse image. This appears to have been conducive to the desired collectivity.

The Zevenster was nominated for the AM NAi prize. An excerpt from the jury report: ‘As a design for social housing it is of a quality seldom seen in the Netherlands these days. Housing construction in the city centre is an increasingly common task, which these young architects seem better able to handle than many an established office. This is what architecture should always aspire to, to carry out the profession well.’ (ANA Architecten)