Wouter Grote

Wouter Grote


Greenhouse, een verenigde woonomgeving voor mens en plant

Greenhouse, a unified living environment for people and plants

This graduation shows the project "Greenhouse, a unified living environment for people and plant." It concerns a living environment in greenhouses, which outlines an alternative to the standard single-family house, which was frequently built in the Netherlands at the time (and after) the Vinex period.  

The project was inspired by the greenhouses in my native village of Lent. I grew up in Lent in the 1990s and early 2000s. There, I often played with friends in and around the many greenhouses that were still there at the time, just in the village. This is where my fascination with greenhouses began. At the time, the huge spaces outside and at the same time inside left an unforgettable impression on me. Unfortunately, these greenhouses have now all but disappeared from Lent, in favour of housing development. Couldn't we have left the greenhouses standing and let them be part of our living environment? After all, demolishing them and rebuilding them elsewhere, no longer seems appropriate. Besides, I see the greenhouse as an interesting typology that can also simultaneously form a bridge to a more harmonious form of housing in relation to 'nature'. 

As said, the project is too late for the old greenhouses in Lent. However, relocating greenhouses in favour of housing is not only a topic in Lent. Elsewhere in the country, similar issues are playing out or patterns are visible that suggest a similar scenario is about to unfold. One of these locations is Bergerden (where new greenhouses have sprung up after housing development in Lent). This is the location for my graduation. 

By means of densification, seven 'residential greenhouses' will be built between the existing production greenhouses there: greenhouses arranged and divided into houses with streets in between. In this way, houses will once again appear between greenhouses, inspired by how the greenhouses stood between houses in Lent when I was a child. 

The aim: to connect the living environment of people and plants. Because: how can you be in connection with nature when you are separated (on a daily base) from nature by a thick, (mostly concrete, insulated) structural wall with cladding?  

The greenhouse as an alternative to the aforementioned, traditional wall construction and facade is leading in the project. The hope is that the view of the residents environment will change the moment:
1. He/she/they enter into a more direct relationship with their environment.  
2. He/she/they 'live' together with plants 24 hours a day. 

Directly together with 'nature' and thus directly caring for his/her 'own piece of nature'.  

The  urban design and access of the residential greenhouses is inspired by the logistics of production greenhouses. Added to this are 'urban landmarks' that copy the language of greenhouse-supporting forms such as the silo, water basin, etc. In the plan, the 'urban landmarks' are given an energetically sustainable new function and create an energy-neutral neighbourhood. [Einde van tekstterugloop]In addition to these elements, functions have been added that make this area a pleasant residential area; sports facilities, (bicycle) parking, waste and local functions such as GP's surgery, day nursery, etc. 

The roof of the residential greenhouses (i.e. both streets and houses) is provided with so-called convertible roof. This is a greenhouse roof construction that can be completely opened or closed. On the roof are partly transparent solar panels. Inside becomes outside and outside becomes inside. 

The contents of the houses are modular. How the house is laid out is entirely up to the residents' wishes. The idea is that the contents consist of packages that residents can put together themselves, allowing them to realise the layout of their dreams and relate to the plants in the best possible way. This modular system also ensures long-term flexibility, even as a living situation changes. If desired, thermal curtains can be used to realise more privacy. Also, the curtains together with a thermal concept (inspired by the period before central heating) ensure a pleasant thermal living environment. 

In this way, I hope to realise an unconventional and wondrous living environment that makes us reflect on our traditional homes and inspire us to switch to a more harmonious form of living for people and plants. 

Graduation date:  21 December 2022
Graduation committee: Rob Hootsmans (mentor), Dingeman Deijs, Hans Hammink
Additional members for the exam: Pnina Avidar, Geurt Holdijk

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