The presence of others who see what we see and hear what we hear assures us of the reality of the world and of ourselves.

Friday, 14 August 2009

Inside/out - De Grote Hof

Rapp´s design for De Grote Hof is one of the housing ensemble examples that turns the traditional closed urban block inside-out. Five virtually square courtyards measuring 230x250m accommodate 246 homes. All of these homes face inwards, while the individual gardens are situated on the outside. The complex as a whole is framed by canal.

De Grote Hof has 5 courtyards. Four of them are square and roughly the same size, while the fifth is rectangular and much larger. The smaller courtyards have a completely different character then the rectangular one - something between a village green and an urban space. The difference in atmosphere derives not only from the difference in scale, but also from the transitional zone between the individual homes and the courtyard´s communal space. In the four small courtyards, this zone is marked out in the paving and partitioned off for each home with small fences. Residents can sit
in front of their homes and make contact with neighbours. The informal architecture appears to complement the casual contact between the residents. The rectangular courtyard makes a more formal statement.

De Grote Hof in Ypenburg, Architectenbureau Rapp+Rapp

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