With the ‘Urban Biotope’ in The Hague we propose a new type of housing, where landscape mimics the city and urbanity is treated like a natural phenomenon. Building and park act as a single hybrid landscape. A landscape that is intensively used and programmed: it purifies water, local inhabitants grow their own food, places to work, play and sport are abundant. The park is stratified by a set of linear islands that result in a natural zoning. Closer to the buildings, the wetlands rise to turn into grass to guide to transition from public to private.
The project houses a differentiated mix of typologies for urban dwellers, from social housing to spacious family houses. Located in the most urbanised country in the world, the architecture fits seamlessly in the surrounding landscape. Both the building and the landscape are designed as a closed water system with water retention on the roofs and helofytfilters in the landscape.
The green living facades and roofs regulate light, air, heat and cold. The façade design merges interior with nature. Every single room has a spacious outdoor green space. The ground floor houses offer direct contact with the park, the houses on the second floor have access to generous roof-gardens, the apartments in between have green balconies and the penthouses on top are placed in a private suburban garden. The apartments above the canopies will make use of passive solar energy for heating an each apartment has a winter garden. These semi climatized spaces function as an extension to the main living space for use in spring and summer. The wooden structural frame creates a flexible, healthy and sustainable building and it grants the building its distinctive architectural quality.
The Urban Biotope combines the best of two worlds: in the middle of nature, it is as urban as an inner-city neighbourhood. Nowhere in the countryside you will find such an urbanity, nowhere in the city you’ll come across such a wild landscape.