Europan 11 Central Lake


Municipality of Leeuwarden, Elkien, Europan Europe

Leeuwarden, NL

urban planning, housing

49 ha

competition, special mention

Budcud: Mateusz Adamczyk, Marcelina Kolasińska, Agata Woźniczka

Europan 11 Central Lake

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On the beginning of Leeuwarden the village was located by an inlet – a big lake determining the city sprawl. Then the lake was changed into a typically Dutch grid of canals and fields, with the city extending into a dense grid of streets and canals. City block became the main typology. Later on it sprawled onto Middelzee and the city spirit was lost. Nevertheless, with our strategy we want to revive the primal nature of the site! The statement is made by adjusting canal grid once again with a simple gesture of squeezing it into a bigger volume. The new lake is created, and therefore an outstanding water features describes Leeuwarden again. Also our site character is now distinctive. Still similar to a big city block, but manifesting the love of nature and water of its future inhabitants.

It is as natural as a region of Fryslan should be, directed into the phenomena of something between urban and rural lifestyle. Absolutely honest in its return to nature and celebration of a common space, yet with a respect to private. It is environmentally conscious, but in a modern way, with its contemporary approach.

Housing is organized around the lake, guaranteeing spectacular views and contact with nature. There are 304 sites from witch 300 host single family housing typologies: free-standing houses, semidetached and detached housing, with height ranging from one floor bungalows to 3 story houses. Four sites are taken by apartment blocks, with total number of 100 units, opting for 400 apartments in total. Site width vary between 6 and 10 m, its depth from 20 to 80 meters, giving a total area from 150 sqm to 485 sqm per site. It is efficient enough and still cheap to buy. Housing units are put in sets as mediators to create subdivisions of the whole area.

From inside the site, the arrangement allows wide angled perspectives full of greenery and water, giving the illusion of uninhabited, virgin land (for those who live there). From outside it seems like a dense part of a city, giving us a dream come true. The site arrangement is like a magnetic field – with an intense social performance zone in the center, just like in Central Park, New York, where green area became city orientation surface, it’s relief and activity zone. Just like Manhattan blocks, Leeuwarden sites are arranged around the lake, perpendicularly to the closest waterline, forming compact stripped masterplan. Long, narrow sites allow to locate units in few different condition.

It can be closer to the road, leaving the great area for ‚a secret garden’ and a long perspective to the lake. A house can be located in the middle of the site, retreating itself from the road, indulged in a garden. A private water platform can be located at the back part of the site, used according to the need- as a fishing spot, boat platform or a sundeck. Water lovers can have their house on the verge of the lake, overlooking their boat moored nearby or even under the first floor. The set of sites, where the buildings are moved from the road, forms a park panorama. That strategy saves the community funds reserved for public spaces, because the park is maintained by private owners, but used and admired by the whole community. Dimensions of the site give one more urban strategy- a possibility of subdivision depending on the real estate market situation. With site sizes being interchangeable, the total footprint could get more intense without losing the spontaneous character of the site.