Circular Permanence – Social housing in Nijmegen Lent

The design is a competition entry for 70 social houses with a strong emphasis on circularity. A building in the circular economy is not a static object, but actually a temporary storage of materials and capital. Dwelling becomes part of a material flowchart and the world is accommodated on a temporary basis, with recycling as the goal. Convinced that time is necessary for a neighborhood to generate urban quality, with our design we strive for permanence in this circular mindset.

The design leans on methods used in the past by for example Carel Weeber to optimize for budget, by intricately puzzling together housing types, minimizing needed traffic space and reducing the number of different building elements, while creating radical architecture that will claim a primary position in the cityscape.

The building is a manifest for the redemption of social housing as an institution with the betterment of the collective as its agenda. Its architecture suggests an individual-destroying dwelling machine, with the repetition of one window thrusting around its volume and a single brutal gallery on the fifth floor looming over the streets. A wooden courtyard, green rooftops and greenhouse-put-on-a-pedestal illustrate the aim to enrich the inhabitants’ lives with a collective sustainability conscience.