The Hiphouse project in Zwolle presented Atelier Kempe Thill with a welcome opportunity to fundamentally question the assignment ‘social housing’. Largely due to the client’s ambition and the active support of urban planners, a prototypical project could be realized without exceeding a typical Dutch standard budget for comparable projects. A radical minimization of architectural means and a visible assertion of the processes and technologies of the building process helped to realize a maximum of living quality.
The deck-access typology is the most common form of multi-story social housing in the Netherlands, because a large number of apartments can be connected to a limited number of stairwells. Despite the social stigma this typology has come to represent, it remains an almost inevitable solution. Due to its extreme cost-efficiency it is still being employed today in large numbers. The very compact building typology realized through the central circulation in Zwolle offers an economic and competitive alternative.
The building block, measuring 23m x 32m and providing 8 units per floor, has a very limited facade surface in relation to its floor area; this favourably affects building costs and enables the high quality detailing of the facade. The housing units are organized around a central core containing a double stair and an elevator. The plan layout allocates the larger apartments to the spatially interesting corners, thus creating apartments with double orientation.