From Bruce Kee
De Haaf in Bergen, The Netherlands. BREINarchitecten, Haarlem, The Netherlands
Within walking distance of the centre of the North Dutch village of Bergen, Estate ‘De Haaf’ was completed in September 2017. Reinald Bosman and Bruce Kee, of BREIN architects, designed the striking project, of three organically designed apartment villas in a collective garden. In addition, they were co-initiators and key players in the sales process of the apartments. A great example of a new, expanding role as an architect, which, in spite of the real estate crisis, enabled this project to be realized and can be called a success in all respects.
The basis for the main organic form of the villas has arisen from the urban planning concept. Maximum experience of the new landscape from the apartment buildings and the neighbourhood was essential, so there are no standard gardens between rectangular buildings but organic objects in a park-like setting. The requirement to offer each apartment optimal conditions in terms of layout, daylight exposure, privacy and view has determined the three building’s shape.
Due to these flowing shapes, the buildings are not experienced as being built up of different building blocks, but as spatial masses that slowly transform when one moves alongside them, continuously providing a completely new and unexpected perspective.
Various natural materials are used in addition to glass and smooth white plaster; greying light wood, raw sandstone cement plaster and warm mixed concrete stones with a natural stone appearance. The architecture of De Haaf can be characterized as expressive, organic and sustainable and therefore fits in with the character of this special artistic village.
Where the De Haaf has always been an inaccessible private area, now it is a natural garden that is accessible for the public by day. The two-acre terrain has been transformed into a gently sloping dune landscape, with as natural character as possible, sand coloured paths and a sizeable pond, which functions as a rainwater buffer.
The trees around it form the decor, and the garden consists of a wide variety of grasses, flowers, bushes and trees, which will provide a different experience at any time of the year.
The built program ultimately covers three villas of four floors with a total of 41 different apartments with apartment sizes ranging from 120 to 350 m2 with terraces between 25 and 140 m2. All storage facilities, as well as 60 parking spaces, are in the sunken parking basements.
Due to the constructive design, with a 6.6-meter square grid, and with concrete apartment floor seamlessly connected with the terraces, the layout of the apartments was largely flexible. This gave the future inhabitants the choice of layout and even the placement of the facade, of course within the pre-determined rules. This way the apartments could be optimized for the individual buyers.
The homes are fully lifecycle proof and all facilities for home robotics, solar panels, sunscreens, terrace heating, alarm system and air conditioning are available. The main entrance is double high and therefore very light and provides a luxurious and welcoming entrance for inhabitants and visitors. Because the basement garage, for many residents, forms an important entrance to their home, this is set up spaciously with as much daylight and fresh air possible.
Architects: BREINarchitecten, Haarlem
Location: Natteweg, Bergen NH, The Netherlands
Construction period: December 2015 – July 2017
Area including terraces: 13,800 m2
Construction costs: € 15,000,000. -