New Forms of Collective Housing in Europe

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New Forms of Collective Housing in Europe Edited by arc en r锚ve centre d architecture |

Birkh盲user Basel 路 Boston 路 Berlin

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Table of Contents Portfolio I


Introduction by Francine Fort


The Politics of Habitat by Michel Lussault


A Place in the World by Bruce Bégout


Co-Habiting by Chris Younès


The House of my Neighbour by Jean-Didier Vincent


What Is a Collective? by Marcus Steinweg


Europa: Terra In-Cognita? by Rafaël Magrou


Project Descriptions Side by Side, Netherlands Schwarzer Laubfrosch, Austria Wohnhaus Schwarzpark, Switzerland Edificio de Equipamientos LV, Spain RuSc Baugruppe, Germany e3 7-geschossiger innerstädtischer Holzbau, Germany Mina del Morro, Spain Les Diversités, France FSB Fælledhaven, Denmark Nordlyset, Denmark Gemini Residences, Denmark VM Bjerre, Denmark Upper Strand Granton, United Kingdom Kaufhaus Breuer, Germany Rondo, Austria Ter Huivra, Netherlands Poticana stanogradnja, Croatia Hroch, Czech Republic Inakasa, Spain Praça de Entrecampos, Portugal Poljansko nabrezˇje, Slovenia Hisˇa Gradasˇka, Slovenia Donnybrook Quarter, United Kingdom La Closeraie, France Viviendas sociales en Carabanchel, Spain Prototipo Periférico N° 2, Spain Kajplats 01, Sweden Abito, United Kingdom Neprofitna stanovanja Poljane, Slovenia Nuovo Portello, Italy 44 Sozialwohnungen an der Lohengrinstraße, Germany Arborea & Playtime, France De Grote Hof, Netherlands

49 49 54 58 62 67 71 75 80 84 89 93 97 101 105 109 113 118 123 127 131 135 140 145 149 153 157 161 165 169 173 177 181 186

Årvollskogen, Norway ZAC Masséna, France CMYK, Slovakia Solaris, France De Plussenburgh, Netherlands Montevideo, Netherlands Bjergsted Plataa, Norway Korterelamu Koidula tn 24, Estonia Czerniowiecka, Poland Kai, Austria De Salamander, Netherlands Apartmenthaus Siewerdtstrasse, Switzerland

191 196 201 205 209 213 217 221 225 229 233 237

The Law of Diminishing Returns The Collective Housing Shortage in Twenty-First Century Europe by Hans Ibelings


Learning to Live Together How Compromises Can Create New Problems by Caroline Goossens and Katrien Vandermarliere


Collective Housing in the Iberian Peninsula at the Dawn of the Twenty-First Century by Albert Ferré


Collective Housing and Development Planning The ‘Building Groups’ Phenomenon – an Emerging Model for Collective Housing by Ilka and Andreas Ruby


Collective Housing in Small Doses by Maria Topolcanska


Collective Housing in Poland by Anna Agata Kantarek


Building Civilia? Twenty-First Century Housing in the U.K. by Nick Barley


The Umpteenth Typology The Typology of the And, or the End of Typology? by Bart Lootsma


From Workers’ Ghettoes to Elite Apartment Blocks Collective Housing in Slovenia by Andrej Hrausky


Cohabiting in the Urban Encampment by Stefano Boeri


France: an Inventory by Rafaël Magrou




Portfolio II



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Introduction Francine Fort, General Director, arc en rêve centre d’architecture Can we really say that there is a renewal of collective housing taking place in Europe? Are we witnessing today the emergence of a new mode of living in a collective way, on a continental scale? What is the significance of the renewal of collective housing in Europe, within the context of the present debates on the questions of height and density? Are we really seeing the emergence of a concept of ‘the individual within the collective’, a hybridising process which tends to belong within the new dwelling modes? What lessons will we be able to draw from an inventory taken throughout Europe? What are the various rationales, differences, trends, distances, and positions at issue?… How may developers, promoters, and architects, in their respective roles and according to their different countries and different regulations, take into account the environmental dimensions of human habitation? And what is the state of our knowledge about user expectations of this product? Beyond the technological input that is required to construct buildings that incorporate the objective of sustainable development, there is also the matter of inventing new architectural responses, of knowing how to use all the new materials available, and of inventing new ways of doing this so that architecture doesn’t get lost in the process of saving the planet. This major issue of the twenty-first century must necessarily bring together all participants in the act of building, particularly where residential housing is concerned. Alerted in advance by Koolhaas’s theories of outsize junk space and bigness, as well as by the questions asked in the Mutations exhibition created by the arc en rêve centre d’architecture on the accelerating urbanisation of the planet and the propagation of the generic city, we have now definitely entered the era of sustainable development. The world is increasingly aware that public spaces require urgent attention in terms of their relation to the city, the territory, and the inhabitants thereof. There is also a clear need to modify our behaviour so that we can dwell in towns that are more closely in line with ecolog­ical principles, more economical with the territory, and more favourable to a slower tempo of exis­ tence… Despite our general tendency to turn inward, the desire for community living is winning over more and more individuals who are looking for real contact with their neighbours, the experience of using spaces alongside others, the resolution of urban frictions, the sharing


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of common spaces, and the collective experience in general. Professional developers and politicians now have a heightened awareness of the effort that needs to be made in regard to the quality of the collective habitat, if the little house in the middle of its parcel of ground, safely esconced behind big gates, is ever to become a less attractive proposition than a handsome collective project made up of individualised living quarters. Yes, real urban quality lies in compactness and verticality, whereby it is rendered less greedy of land space and more rich in diversity. A sizeable chunk of the European population lives, not in consolidated towns, but more and more often in dispersed ones. There is no doubt that the poorest today are the ones who are routinely pushed farthest out. Urban sprawl, which has been allowed to remain directionless for far too long, has become not so much the exception as the rule on our European territories. The prototypical territory of urban sprawl is simply vast. The whole of Belgium, much of the Netherlands, Denmark, the Rhine Valley, Germany, northeastern Italy, Andalusia . . . all are victims of it, though their configurations and situations are different. France is just behind Belgium in the leading group of those looking for solutions. But while there is active research in France in the field of public housing, while there are plenty of pilot collective housing projects, we must acknowledge that there is a gulf between the ideas being put forward and the actual production of new conditions for housing. But why must we always reinvent answers that have already been validated by decades of experience? Why must we still fight to let in light, move partitions, take care of chinks and interstices, create to suit situations, and construct higher buildings? There is a strong resistance to innovation as soon as it begins to affect the aesthetics of our living framework. People fall back on custom, identity, heritage, and durability, values that are essential to share, but are most often invoked as reproaches to contemporary architectural creation. The dissonant claims of conservation, composition, negotiation, and demolition are cited as excuses for the mistakes of the past or as reasons for us to be afraid of the future. How can critical thought be applied to the domain of the human habitat without attracting economic, political, and cultural blame, and without breaking aesthetic taboos? May the grace of sustainable development open the way to innovative regulation, raise our eyes above the solar panels, and liberate architectural creativity – while trusting the actual inhabitants to fashion their own everyday existence. Let us go out then, and see what is happening across the regions of Europe, now enlarged to include the former Eastern bloc. The dream of living in a house

Introduction Francine Fort

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in the idyll of one’s own garden, even though it is still deeply lodged in people’s imaginations, must compete today with choices of habitats that lay their emphasis on the proximity of urban services and demand an architectural quality that is adaptable to the ways people live today. There is no question here of going back on this new awareness, but more exactly of observing and verifying what may be the first effects of it in the field of collective housing. What are the alternatives and the assumed directions? Europe-wide, we must find out for certain what are the points in common, as well as the geographical, political, topographic, cultural, and environmental differences facing us. The objective of the Collective exhibition is to explore new perspectives and concepts of collective housing in Europe over the last five years; and thereby to continue in the same line as the Voisins-Voisines exhibition, which dealt more precisely with new forms of individual habitat in France – the intermediate forms of habitat between ‘grouped individual housing’ and ‘ individualised collective housing’. This latter exhibition reached out very successfully to those responsible for development, as well as to a number of other people directly concerned with the running of cities. At the same time, it had the unexpected effect of promoting a new model that was a definite alternative to the standard detached house, but was also perceived as an ideal by comparison with the type of collective housing architecture now condemned as the antithesis of human well-being. This is why arc en rêve centre d’architecture has embarked on the present project, entitled Collective Housing, which comprises an exhibition, a book, a symposium, and a programme of active participation, and is dedicated to the new forms of collective habitat now beginning to appear around Europe. It is founded on the following four ideas: – rehabilitation of the general image of collective housing – promotion of architectural creativity so that environmental awareness does not forget architecture – showing how dense forms of habitat can answer the urgent need for sustainable development – highlighting the singularity and plurality of European identities. This programme aims to provide food for thought on the conditions of habitat quality – which implies architectural quality as well as quality of life – articulated around the current issues of sustainable development, and of collective living viewed as an exercise and an apprenticeship in living with otherness. The selection we have presented in this book, and through the medium of the exhibition, is the result of

an exploratory initiative. We opted for a selective competition open to ‘enlightened correspondents’, each concerned with their respective geographical areas of architectural criticism, to identify the key projects for new forms of collective housing in Europe. We are fully aware that this selection provides no more than a sampling of the various innovative solutions. It does not pretend to be a sine qua non of European architecture in terms of habitat. No more does it claim to be exhaustive or exclusive, in terms of the quality and quantity of the projects presented. Moreover, the selection is not specifically confined to state-sponsored housing. The choice of these forty-five collective housing projects was both difficult and delicate; but in the event, each offers its own innovative contributions to solving the problem of renewing the collective habitat. More specifically, each was selected for its value as a demonstration of a particular approach, such as: – efforts brought to bear on the quality and architectural handling of shared areas – deliberate intention to set aside extra areas that could be shared – intelligent layout – generosity in providing ample living space – special concern for lighting issues and the relationship between indoor and outdoor spaces – flexibility and potential to evolve that was appropriate to current uses – richness and variety of layout – concern for the complexities involved in living privately within the framework of a larger housing ensemble – proximity and integration of public services within the buildings themselves – wise handling of site, orientation, scale, and landscape issues – capacity to embrace inventive approaches to ways of living. The sum total of these examples – which, when taken individually, are necessarily insufficient – constitutes a series of qualities obtained through stringent choices taken by architects and project commissioners. More­ over, they cast a clear light on the possibilities of collective housing, both here in Europe and elsewhere. This book also sets out, for purposes of reflection, the theoretical propositions of philosophers, geographers, and sociologists, in an attempt to link the question of collective housing with that of living under collective conditions on a daily, individual basis, while gaining some kind of philosophical perspective on the collective notion, as well as collective existence and sharing. Along with the philosophers Bruce Bégout, Marcus Steinweg, and Chris Younès, the writer and neurobiologist Jean-Didier Vincent, and the geographer

Introduction Francine Fort

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Michel Lussault, there is also an invitation to view the whole subject from other standpoints. Here, not as a conclusion, but as a further introduction to this book, are some of their remarks. ‘In this way our collective inhabiting of the earth may not, after all, render the world uninhabitable for the vast majority of our race.’ Michel Lussault ‘Any habitat, inasmuch as it signifies a settled place in the world, also signifies a settled place among men. Being in the world is always being with others; a dwelling exists at the same time in the world and at the heart of a collectivity.’ Bruce Bégout ‘The true test of politics, the joyful challenge of an architecture for people as they really are, must be to take full advantage of that which is heterogeneous, to balance our differences, and to establish our relationships without resorting to illusory unifying factors and dire mixtures. This can best be achieved by emphasising the aspects that bring us together in all our pluralities and singularities.’ Chris Younès ‘Whenever a collective is formed or beginning to form, there is already a minimum of shared order, a minimum of coherence in the hopes and projects held in common; but there is also a shared betrayal of this non-existence, constituting that which is collective.’ Marcus Steinweg ‘Obviously I am a fan of any kind of habitat that favours collectivity and exchange between psyches. Without these, there can be no “normal” human life. Yes, collectivity is a state, inasmuch as it is responsible for the affective basis on which any human action is founded. When we build, I believe it is indispensable for us to begin with the collective ideal, which is the first condition of the accomplished singular.’ Jean-Didier Vincent


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Introduction Francine Fort

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