The residential district as an opportunity of urbanity. The Dutch experience of Bakema and van den Broek

The residential district as an opportunity of urbanity. The Dutch experience of Bakema and van den Broek

Numerous residential districts built in Europe since the Second World War have tried to respond to population growth by building new urban spaces through an use of the architectural form that has not always been able to mix the small dimension of living with the large scale of the city, in relation to the territory. The image resulting from these districts reminds mega structures absents of the human scale, as a formal experiments that have often led to the construction of social slums, like a problematic spaces and open wounds in the body of the city. On the opposite, the residential districts designed by Bakema and van den Broek, built in the Netherlands in the same years, they still represent today inhabited quality spaces, because they have mixed the different scales of living in an urban element repeated and varied to generate a settlement pattern: the minimum and complex unit. What are the differences between different districts built in the same years? How does the culture of the modern movement has produced so different examples? This article seeks to identify, through the analysis of the project experience of Bakema & van den Broek, a design tool still able to generate quality of urban space and able to be a potential strategy to operate in the contemporary city.

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