|Arnhem, the Netherlands||Synchroon||9 hectares, 200 residential units||2001|
Monnikenhuizen is a new residential area, created on the site of a former football stadium, itself excavated from a sloping site. Due to its former use, the area in the centre of the site was treeless and flat, and had abrupt level differences of up to 25 meters at the edges. Thus, the relationship of the site with its surroundings was minimal. The key influences on the new residential masterplan were therefore the wooded character of the surrounding area and the level differences.
The original topography of the site was recreated in this design for a new residential neighbourhood, in the form of terraces, gently stepping down the slope. The terracing was created from the existing earth on the site, with no import or export of material. In this way the abrupt level differences across the site are gently bridged, creating development platforms on which the residential developments are located.
The terraces in the public realm are formed by gabion walls. These materials are repeated in the architecture, creating a visual binding element between the buildings and the open public spaces.
All surface water drainage is led to a triangular water body at the lowest level of the site. The deepest part of the basin is impermeable and thus always full. If the water rises, it overflows onto the surrounding ground and into it.
This project is an example of how sustainable design (reprofiling of the site without import or export of materials, water retention and south facing houses) can also be aesthetically appealing.