In late 2010, the van Alckmaer housing corporation commissioned Space&Matter to come up with an urban vision for the renovation of a neighborhood in Alkmaar, Noord-Holland. The yearlong process led to extensive research and a vision for the future transformation of the housing blocks. The strategy takes both morphology and social condition into account whilst re-evaluating the idea of a courtyard.
It is clear that the Bloemwijk is in need of a major refurbishment; both the public space and the buildings have deteriorated rapidly over the years. Most of the authentic character has been lost. Bloemwijk shows strong resemblance to a typical garden village, although green spaces are non-existant. A clear and coherent approach with emphasis on the establishment of public space and on the restoration and expansion of the existing residences is proposed.
Because the properties were built almost a century ago, for workers' families, most houses do not meet the needs of modern living. These houses should be expanded by extending into the gardens or by clustering properties. The new additions would make the Bloemwijk accessible to a greater diversity of households; increasing the diversity of the district as a whole.
Each house has a spacious inner courtyard dominated by storerooms and fences. Here lies the opportunity for the enrichment of public space. Each housing block is transformed and gains an accessible courtyard with a coherent program for the adjacent residents. Several models were investigated.
The common program and the new social structure will strengthen the character of the neighborhood in the future.