The programme for the centre of Oosterheem, a Vinex development in Zoetermeer, includes not only a concentration of shops and parking space but also an exceptionally large quantity of dwellings. In the original urban design, some of the dwellings were combined in one tower block about 100 metres tall and the rest of the buildings consisted of hard, rectangular blocks. A crucial starting point in the plan by Soeters and Van Eldonk was taking this hardness out of the design and imbue the whole with more ambiance and intimacy. The majority of the dwellings are still housed in high-rises, but instead of one big anonymous tower, three smaller tower blocks have been created. These towers are partitioned and designed like big houses. Each tower is made up, as it were, of a ‘copse’ of five or six slender homes, each with its own character and conclusion. The towers have been designed so that their occupants can point out their individual homes. From a distance, too, they provide a unique contour to the centre.
A characteristic of the new centre is its location on the banks of a body of water in a central park zone. One problem with the original urban design plan was that the buildings were situated in such a way that they allowed the wind from the body of water to rage through the whole area. The open hole on the water side has been closed by turning it into a tall glassed-in winter garden, which protects the shopping area from the wind and also serves as a public link between the shopping street and the waterfront.
Dwellings are located not just in the tower blocks but also above the shops. In addition, a whole gardens area has been laid out on the shopping deck, so that people here live in a deck-connected home with a garden.
[A] Jos van Eldonk
[P] Houses, shops & parking garage
[G] 119,025 m2
[C] ING Real Estate Development & Stevast Advies en Ontwikkeling