Project: Green Courtyard Rechthuislaan - Tolhuislaan Woonstad Rotterdam

Status: In process


For the well-known Rotterdam housing corporation 'Woonstad Rotterdam' we were asked to design a green courtyard for the big apartment block Rechthuislaan - Tolhuislaan.

The most important thing was to involve the tenants in the process from the start to finish. So we held three participation sessions with the tenants. Involved them from the first sketch until the final design.


The tenants have been able to communicate all their needs for the courtyard. We held brainstorming sessions with the tenants, made drawings together and shared our ideas, sketches and floor plans. We also introduced Virtual Reality to have a real experiencd of the design we have made.

The design had to meet various requirements from the program. An 'open' character was desired. A design that should contribute to a sense of community, creating a more strong social cohesion. No hidden dark places. A green shared garden in which you can read a book by yourself, but also a space for group activities.The design has been so well received, that several more residents have decided to also give up their private garden to make it part of the shared courtyard.

It has become a design in which for example, a fruit tree on wheels was desired, but on the other hand, also a large outdoor bench. We had to think out-of-the-box and come up with creative solutions. For example, we designed a hexagon bench with an in-built tree planter on wheels for the fruit tree, introducing various functions in one element. This allowed us to make maximum use of the space.

We have also included an eco fence from the Buurjongens in the design, adding elements for insect hotels, butterflies, bees and thus making room for a bit more biodiversity. Old tree trunks became benches with incorporated round tables. We zoomed in on patterns from the biophilic design methodology that reinforces the experiences we know of nature; refuge and mystery. We designed with some more colorfull vegetation in the heart of the courtyard, while the edges are a variation of different green shades of vegetation.

We've been working together with the corporation Woonstad Rotterdam and their tenants for weeks. Back and forth to the drawing board. A custom design according to the needs of the residents. Together we created something special.