Written by Martin Sobota

De Eenvoud – Simplicity

De Eenvoud – Simplicity by Martin Sobota

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This friday at 16:30 an interesting exhibition opens @ the Casla in Almere. It will feature the winning projects of the Eenvoud Competition, the third edition for an experimetal neighbourhood in Almere. Its predecessors, “De Fantasie” and “De Realiteit”, ‘Fantasy’ and ‘Reality’ were held back in the eighties and their results are still worth an excursion. More information on that below.

De Éénvoud” or ‘Simplicity ‘is the result of a competition held in 2006. The brief was to design a freestanding and simple low-cost house, expressing their own wishes and ideas for dwelling. The winners got the possibility to build their design on a beautiful open spot in the woodland of Noorderplassen-West.

The twelve winning projects, amongst which an ornithologist’s house, a rubber house, a convertible house and a scaled version of the Unité d’Habitation were submitted from The Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Portugal and Sweden. The houses will have a permanent character, with a minimum of building regulations. Some of the projects will be built by the designers themselves; nine projects are still open for clients to join in.

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Rubber House, Cityfoerster

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Convertible House, Matthias Bauer, Stefan Werrer

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Het Huis van de Vogelaar, Anouk Vogel / Johan Selbing

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Unite, Joao Pedro Prates Vital Ruivo

The Exhibition “De Éénvoud” opens the 28th of march and will run until 10th of may 2008 @ Architectuurcentrum CASLa, Weerwaterplein 3, 1324 EE Almere Stad
Open Tuesday to Saturday between 12.00-17.00

The Predecessors
“De Fantasie” and “De Realiteit” were meant to stay only for five years, but as always with experimental projects, they usually last longer than permanent houses. The houses are used either for permanent living, as holiday homes or studios.
They are part of a number of special residential neighbourhoods in Almere, amongst which such ridiculosities as The Regenboogwijk (Rainbow Quarter), Stedenwijk (City Quarter), Muziekwijk (Music Quarter), Filmwijk (Movie Quarter), Parkwijk (Park Quarter). De Realiteit and De Fantasie have arguably yielded the most striking architecture. De Realiteit comprises seventeen projects on the Noorderplassen lakes, while nine houses make up De Fantasie on Weerwater.

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Hard Glass, BenthemCrouwel

De Fantasie
De Fantasie has developed into a beautiful and tranquil neighborhood on the southwest shore of the Weerwater. Because of the involvement of the people in this area it has the feel of a holiday resort. The intention was to build homes which were to be demolished after five years. However, due to the project’s success, the houses are still standing. A striking design in this quarter is ‘Hard Glass’, by architect Jan Benthem of famous dutch office Benthem Crouwel. It was one of their first projects, now they are building every major train station, airport etc. This project, ‘Hard Glass’ is a glass, cubic villa which has been lifted off the ground by a construction of steel tubes. The living quarters inside the cube resemble an aquarium. The type of doors also used on ships divide the villa’s rooms.
The VVV (the local tourist information office) in Almere has a CASla route description through De Fantasie which you can enjoy without a guide.

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ER VLIEGT EEN VOGEL ONDER ONS HUIS
, De Realiteit 11, 
Dick Bruijne and Gerard Koppelman

De Realiteit
The ‘temporary character’ is also reflected in the much talked-about quarter De Realiteit. Here too the houses are still standing, as they are a resounding success. De Realiteit lies in a fairly remote area, which has resulted in a surprising ambience. The seventeen houses differ in the materials used and the construction, but mainly in shape. The house created by Dick Bruijne and Gerard Koppelman is a striking design which stands out. ‘A bird is flying underneath our house’ is suspended five meters above the ground in a steel frame. The house itself is a small, two-storied wooden cube. The surface area of the house is small in proportion to the steel frame.
You probably also come across ‘Markies’ a house which unfold from a trailer. I guess you won’t see it there though since its constantly on the road.
De Realiteit is situated on the Noorderplassen and the VVV also has a route description on this one.
Check out the website for more details on the houses.
More photos also here

  Comments ( 4 )

  1. The project died – the architects didn’t want to live in Almere but sell, and no one wanted to buy – see hochparterre Here we go again: the market and the ambitions of the architects are completely out of touch. Any insider-insights from cityförster?

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