The Ark is a prototype of a building where people live in a large group. Living in a group means that everyone has their own residential unit, but that there are large communal spaces with kitchens, living rooms and kitchens at the same time, as a result of which relationships arise between the residents, and due to which residents are offered the opportunity to help each other in life, as was the case in large families in the past. Compared to the time in which the group helped people to survive, today a person can also survive alone, but the interaction with other people can greatly improve the quality of life.
My point of departure for this project is my own experience. My husband worked for one and half years in another country and I lived alone with my child. When we were alone, we used our house differently. The three of us used all three rooms, but the living room and bedroom became totally unnecessary for my child and I. Only the kitchen and the nursery were used intensively.
In order to be able to work and study with my child, I had to make many new contacts with people: there were babysitters, neighbours, other single mothers, parents of children from the crèche, etc. My research revealed that in order to replace the role of your partner, you need to have about 20 people.
The multiple apartments function perfectly if residents have stability in their lives, but what does ‘stability’ mean? A permanent job, steady relationship and suitable home. Those three elements are connected and the absence of one influences the other two greatly. In the case of a divorce, for example, the apartment may become too large, and in the case of a job loss a workspace may be needed.
How many people today have a long period of stability in their life?
- There are 2.8 million single people in the Netherlands.
- 1 in 3 couples separate
- There are 400.000 single parents in the Netherlands
- There are 1.000.000 entrepreneurs and half of them use their own house as workplace
And these figures are increasing more and more. We can say that people with a unique living or work situation are no longer the exception, but the rule.
However, what is beautiful and special at the moment is that an increasing number of people are searching for new contacts with people who share the same life circumstances, in order to help each other. Single parents are searching for contacts with other single parents, in order to take turns bringing children to school, cook warm meals, give each other the opportunity to work until late or to go on dates. Entrepreneurs are joining together to create their own workplaces and be able to work effectively.
The Ark is a residential-business building with large communal spaces, different types of homes and many workspaces. As a result of this, all three elements of stability (Permanent job, Steady relationship, Suitable home) find their niche in the building.
Commission members: Bart Bulter, Jan-Richard Kikkert, Liesbeth van der Pol. Additional members for the exam: Rik van Dolderen, Wouter Kroeze.