Exploring visual language and typologies in Dutch midrise residential neighbourhoods

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Dutch residential neighbourhoods built after 1965 (Post 65) are characterised by a varied range of housing and living environments. As a reaction to the post-war Reconstruction period, architects and urban designers focussed on quality of life and identification with the living environment. Midrise housing was the compromise between high-rise and low-rise, combining quality and efficiency. Today, Post 65 residential neighbourhoods are not recognised as valuable architecture or cultural heritage. Although academic interest in Post 65 architecture is increasing, attributes of midrise typologies are understudied. Research is necessary to document and assess them, to inform stakeholders and contribute to decision making in renovation processes. The central question in this paper is: What are the urban and architectural attributes (tangible and intangible) of Dutch midrise residential neighbourhoods built after 1965? The paper discusses a comparative analysis of five residential midrise examples, focussing on building typology and visual language. The research applied mixed methods and integrates fieldwork, archival and literature research and uses 2D-matrices, juxtaposing urban and architectural attributes. Results show a variety in terms of typology and use of visual language. Two spatial organisational concepts are identified. A 'snake' shapes the urban space, and creates a front. It refers to a formal urban model in which the urban form is the starting point and the development of the building block a means to that end. A 'mesh' arranges housing units and urban space in a sprawling structure, in which a human scale living environment is the starting point. Regarding visual language, the projects show referencing to various architectural movements. This pluralism applies to the 'collection' of Post 65 midrise complexes but also to single neighbourhoods. The urban and architectural attributes are diverse, with diversity as the common denominator. Following Jencks' definitions, the Post 65 midrise neighbourhoods can therefore be regarded as Post-Modern.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationModern Design. Social Commitment and Quality of Life
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 17th International docomomo Conference
EditorsCarmen Jorda Such, Maite Palomares Figueres, Ana Tostoes, Uta Pottgiesser
Place of PublicationValencia
ISBN (Electronic)9788419286598
ISBN (Print)9788419286581
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Event17th International Docomomo Conference - Modern Design: Social Commitment and Quality of Life, Proceedings - Valencia, Spain
Duration: 6 Sep 20229 Sep 2022


Conference17th International Docomomo Conference - Modern Design: Social Commitment and Quality of Life, Proceedings

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository 'You share, we take care!' - Taverne project https://www.openaccess.nl/en/you-share-we-take-care
Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


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