HBB Groep, Haarlem






Housing, Social facilities, Commercial plinth

Photos: Mathieu van Ek


De Houtwachters was realized on the site of the former Houthof, an outdated and vacant office building from the early 1980s. It is beautifully situated on the south side of the Haarlemmerhout, locally known as De Hout, the oldest city forest in the Netherlands. In the Golden Age it used to be a popular recreational area for the wealthy from Haarlem and Amsterdam.

De Houtwachters celebrates this transition of city and nature with a grand gesture. On the lower floor, the building is connected in a joint plinth. The building then transforms into three separate towers, enhancing its verticality. The sky is visible between the towers, establishing a natural transition between the 25 m high neighbouring Kinheim building and the 50 m high apartment building on the west side to the Coornhert Lyceum.

The building is designed in three earthy tones that give the entire complex a warm look and feel in conjunction with the surrounding greenery. The plinth with commercial spaces is composed of high glass fronts, placed in a light grey natural stone façade. The elegant entrances to the apartments are made of wood. The rest of the façade is made up of a fine-meshed structure. Behind this structure one can find the balconies, followed by the glass façade, creating a layered and refined architectural image. Furthermore, a maximum view from the apartments without too much insight from the outside is provided. By changing the positions of the verticals in the facades every so many floors, an articulation in height emerges. This same principle has been used in the Renaissance, distinguishing the plinth, lower, middle and highest part of the building.

The building accommodates ninety condominiums with two, three or four rooms, varying in size from 55 to 150 square meters. Underneath the building a parking garage, bicycle sheds and storage facilities for residents are located.

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