At first glance, the new town centre of Nootdorp follows a traditional plan, yet large-scale facilities and a hypermodern, efficient distribution machine are concealed behind the small-scale façades of the dwellings and shops.
The total plan can be seen as a fortress encircled by a ring of dwellings. The urban-design structure came about as a result of a search for a solution for parking space. Underground parking proved too expensive, so a large above-ground parking garage had to be built. Instead of relegating the large parking volume to the outskirts of the area, it was decided to place it right in the middle of the new town centre. An important reference was Palladio’s sixteenth-century basilica in Vicenza, which shows that you can give a large building a place in the midst of a finely meshed urban fabric. Just as in Vicenza, Nootdorp’s ‘basilica’ is crowned by a copper roof and ringed by arcades. The parking garage is invisible from the street, because it is completely enclosed by shops and flats. The large-scale shopping programme and the delivery streets around it are camouflaged in a similar way.
The primary idea behind the plan was the shopping centre should also be a pleasant place to live. Its hallmark is the great romantic variety in houses and housing types. The dwellings on the outer edge are semi-detached houses. They line the delivery streets and form the finely meshed transition to the small-scale Oranjebuurt area, immediately adjacent to the plan area. ‘Ground-connected’ homes are also located on the roof of the shops, each with its own front door and front gardens accessible via a collective residential deck. The homes, all of which have a view of the public streets and squares, not only camouflage the shop boxes and distribution courtyards, but also ensure the quality of the public space.
The architecture is traditional, with stepped, corniced, and bell gables, but nowhere were literal copies of old village houses built.
[A] Jos van Eldonk
[P] Houses, shops & parking garage
[G] 51,400 m2
[C] ING Real Estate Development