Nieuw Leyden | MVRDV | Leyden, Netherlands

  • MVRDV project
  • 23 ha
  • 670 dwellings  (half of which are private clients)
  • start construction 2005
  • client: Municipality of Leiden and Portaal
  • 200 different architects
  • 2500 m² of commercial space

From the owners and from Architectuur Lokaal

  • The Slaughterhouse, an industrial site on the northern edge of the city of Leiden, had been neglect for years and had negative impact on the socially weak adjacent neighborhood. To put an end to this, the municipality of the area created a new neighborhood with an unprecedented contribution from private clients
  • mission is ambitious: transforming a heavily polluted “no go area” into an attractive one residential environment with a mix of income groups
  • through a contest between three design agencies, MVRDV is chosen to design the urban plan
  • the plan is organized around a core with the high density of an intensive used urban area, while at the edges there is also room for green and water
  • due to the size and the location of the building blocks determines the design of MVRDV the space for individual houses. Municipal urbanist Alwin Kaashoek compares the plan with a tight designed bookcase. If the books are in the correct format, they will fit in
  • most plots are organized in building blocks with one communal garage for 18 lots. this semi-detached garage is part of the houses, while in the middle of the building block the garage roof forms a private outdoor space
  • the garages make it possible for the cars to be near home and yet out of sight
  • a standard lot is 6 by 15 meters, and the buyer can have up to 4 floors
  • half of the new housing developed within the framework of so called private client- and consumer driven developments
  • the urban plan gives strict parameters to ensure the relative cohesive context of the urban grid, but at the same time offers enough flexibility for consumer driven developments
  • there are no requirements for materials or colors
  • to provide the buyers with inspiration an architectural contest had been organized, for which 200 architects took part, at least 15 of them got the assignment with some agencies designing more then one house
  • within the fields with the joined, individually designed houses, a new inner-city environment is created in addition to the existing surrounding neighbourhoods
  • the urban framework is designed in a way that it guarantees the largest freedom possible in filling in the plots
  • along the main road (the Willem de Zwijger Boulevard) a series of characteristic buildings are developed with a mixed and diverse programme, such as housing, retail and education
  • the density of the area is high
  • the building blocks consists of x amount of houses, designed by different architects. There are no regulations of the beauty commission, so the future owners are free to design their house, as long as it fits within the provided building envelope
  • the buildings are not designed by MVRDV but by different architects and the inhabitants of the homes
  • the more classic style homes are developed by a housing corporation
  • common garage.  For the construction of the common garages, individual clients are obliged to join Association of Owners
  • the width of the street is minimal, but due to the lack of cars, all street is used as public space for residents
  • residents choose first whether they want to manage the green in the street themselves. The alternative is that they are allowed to do the administration by the municipality. After that, residents can choose flowers and plants. If the street chooses self-management, the residents of the street close management convention with the municipality

For the design of the houses in Nieuw Leyden these are the most important rules:
– The design must be made by a registered architect.
– The build-up of the lot (the predetermined maximum width, depth and height of construction) may not be exceeded.
– It is mandatory to build the entire width lot.
– The facade must have one main material and any side panels must be performed in the same quality
– It is allowed to buy up to two lots on the condition that one property becomes one built.
– In the fields that consist of four or more lots, every buyer is obliged to contact the neighbors to jointly realize the garage and the support structure (the building structure) of the house.
– At the same time, the building permit is applied for and the foundation is laid.
– Two years after the building permit has been issued, the house must be ready and the client must live for a minimum of one year.

Further reading and images sources


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