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Dublin: 12°C Friday 18 September 2020

Here's what affordable housing looks like in the Netherlands...

It’s far from gingko-covered apartments we were reared.

AFFORDABLE HOUSING THAT is as beautifully designed as it is functional is not something you come across every day.

In a small town called Beekbergen in the Netherlands, there existed a problem familiar to lots of Irish people – a lack of affordable housing for young single people and accessible housing for older people.

5 Source: Casanova+Hernandez

So architecture firm, Casanova+Hernandez went about designing a development that provided for the needs of a diverse clientele.

The ‘Ginkgo’ project explores the possibilities of providing affordable housing for different target groups thanks to its compact housing complex, which is physically and visually integrated in its context.

Source: Casanova+Hernandez

The most striking part of the project, externally at least, is of course the gingko-covered facade which helps to provide privacy to the balconies and also visually connects the park with the building itself.

2 Source: Casanova+Hernandez

The glazed facade has been specially designed with a print of Ginkgo Biloba tree leaves of different green and yellow tones that react to the constant changing light of the sky creating special effects, reflections, shadows and silhouettes, depending on the time of the day and the season of the year.

7 Source: Casanova+Hernandez

The architects took a lot of care with this printed facade making sure that each panel is unique so as not to create repetition and also to reduce the visual impact on the surroundings.

Internally things are just as interesting as externally. The architects used a circular design of concentric ‘rings’ to structure the design of the apartments.

8 Source: Casnova+Hernandez

First, there’s a vertical circulation core in the centre of the block, then a second ring of the ‘services’ of the apartments (toilets, bathrooms kitchens, storage) and then a third ‘ring’ comprising of flexible living space that can be reorganised to suit the needs of the occupants. The fourth ring is the outdoor spaces of the apartments – the gingko leaf covered balconies.

9 Source: Casanova+Hernandez

Read: Revenue want to give you money for doing up your house*

Also: Here’s something you don’t usually see – a renovation with an interesting ‘twist’

About the author:

Edel Corrigan

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