Soon after Rotterdam, Netherlands, entered the 21st century, many families left the city to move to other places. At the same time, Woonstad housing corporation faced the issue of how to tackle substandard housing in Crooswijk, a neighbourhood in the inner city area of Rotterdam. The solution resulted in a new urban development plan, which carefully considered demolition/new buildings and renovation.

Product details

Project
Nieuw Crooswijk, Rotterdam, the Netherlands
Architect
Brink architectuur, JSA Architecten,De Zwarte Hond, Geurst & Schulze architects, NL architects, Drost + van Veen
Client
Nieuw Crooswijk Development Group (OCNC), a collaboration between Heijmans Vastgoed and ERA Contour
Facing bricks used
Terca Valencia hand-moulded
Terca Bologna hand-moulded
Both including custom made ballshaped bricks in the same colour
 

New and renovated houses in a neighbourhood in Crooswijk, Netherlands - street view

New and renovated houses in a neighbourhood in Crooswijk, Netherlands

New and renovated houses in a neighbourhood in Crooswijk, Netherlands

New and renovated houses in a neighbourhood in Crooswijk, Netherlands

New and renovated houses in a neighbourhood in Crooswijk, Netherlands - facade

New and renovated houses in a neighbourhood in Crooswijk, Netherlands

New and renovated houses in a neighbourhood in Crooswijk, Netherlands - detail

New and renovated houses in a neighbourhood in Crooswijk, Netherlands

New and renovated houses in a neighbourhood in Crooswijk, Netherlands - before renovation

New and renovated houses in a neighbourhood in Crooswijk, Netherlands - before renovation

Here to stay

Most of the houses in Crooswijk were replaced. This was unavoidable, as the original houses were entirely substandard. Improving housing quality was the main reason for opting for demolition.
 
However, some of the houses were retained. “Put simply, those houses were of far better quality than those which were scheduled for demolition”, explains Ahaloui - project developer at Heijmans Vastgoed. The houses have been visually upgraded and a better infrastructure has been created, so that they can be rented out in the coming years.

Urban development aims

Something also had to change in the design of the neighbourhood. “It was a very introverted area, although it had many fantastic quality features”, says Van Zomeren - director of development at ERA Contour. “For example, there are many beautiful avenues, but you didn’t experience these when you arrived in the neighbourhood. The roads were largely paved, green space was lacking, and cars were everywhere. So, you see, there was great interest in changing the urban development structure, in order to experience the positive features of the neighbourhood”, says Van Zomeren.
 
The aim of the development was therefore very clear. “We had to develop a housing-for-life neighbourhood with highly differentiated houses”, says Van Zomeren. “A neighbourhood for families and those on the first rung of the property ladder.” In order to preserve the city of Rotterdam in the long term, it must be ensured that families can also settle within the Rotterdam ring. Nieuw Crooswijk lies within the popular inner city area but is also near the Rotte River and within walking distance of the Kralingse Plas, a leisure area, making it an ideal location for family homes.

A nod to the original architecture

One of the development requirements, imposed upon the neighbourhood, was the brick architecture. Ahaloui explains: “Crooswijk was a pre-war neighbourhood characterised by its special brick architecture. Each house and flat is clearly identifiable by its special details, bay windows, special ballshaped bricks and varied brickwork. These features were specified in the image quality plan right at the start.”

More space

In order to create more private areas within the neighbourhood, closed blocks of houses were used, such as the ones often seen in 19th century developments. “These create a lovely division between the exterior and the extremely pleasant, tranquil interior where children can play in a safe environment. We also managed to resolve many of the parking needs within the blocks of houses, thus freeing up the roads”, says Van Zomeren. The appearance of the street was recreated with trees and public squares, creating a rich and vibrant streetscape.

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