|function||dwellings, social housing|
Social housing in Belgium is often synonymous with stereotypical, impersonal architecture. That it doesn't have to be like that, is shown by Belgian architects TEEMA. In Merksplas, they were asked to design eleven social housing units plus a semi-underground car park. The site is part of an outlying social housing district earmarked for densification. According to TEEMA, the flight from the city demonstrates the failure of the traditional apartment building. One way of addressing this is to build atypical social housing outside the city where the landscape becomes the resident's garden. The architecture then functions as a visual corridor: the landscape enters the dwellings through the open front, rear and side façades. Instead of the usual pseudo-farmhouses or anonymous apartment blocks, the architects opted for contemporary row houses that feel and look like detached houses. The austere design provides unity while the different colours provide diversity.