Activity: Talk or presentation › Talk or presentation at a workshop, seminar, course or other meeting
By the end of the fourteenth century the first ‘hofjes’ [little charity courtyards, almshouses] were built in the Netherlands. This was the beginning of a long-lasting architectural typology. Hofjes were built by well-to-do private persons for the accommodation of financially weak elderly. Besides compassion by benevolence and religious commitment the founders aimed at immortalizing their name in a city. A hofje always acts as an architectural unity made up of individual houses around a communal outdoors space and is situated within the perimeter block. Front doors face the hofje and traditionally the backside is a blind wall. Over ages this building type proved to be a very sustainable building type. A large number of hofjes still exists, is unchanged inhabited by single elderly people and popular continuously. Its potential is expressed too by the capacity to be meaningful again and again. Successive generations of architects put up the hofje as an exemplary precedent for new Dutch housing assignments , in which the theme of collectivity is of major importance. Willemijn Wilms Floet studies the hofje as an architectural design problem by means of plan analysis: how hofjes are embedded in the urban tissue and which architectural development have they gone through?