Housing is more than just accommodation: it is fundamental to social integration. Based on this vision, the German initiative Home not Shelter! promotes inclusive housing. Veldacademie brought the initiative to the Netherlands and together with SHS Delft developed a community centre room for a former care home that now offers accommodation for the elderly, students and temporarily homeless people.
Home not Shelter! is an initiative of TU Berlin and the Hans Sauer Stiftung, in which students work on inclusive housing issues from the perspective of architecture and urban planning. The vision is that housing is not just accommodation, but is also a right that is fundamental to social integration. The initiative is a response to the flow of migrants in Europe and aims to develop ideas and strategies to make housing part of the integration process in cities and districts.
Students of Veldacademie took part in a Home not Shelter! design workshop for student housing in Vienna in September 2016. Not just any student housing, but a transformed office building in which students and young asylum permit holders live together. The interiors of the rooms and communal areas were jointly designed and built.
In November 2017, Veldacademie brought the Home not Shelter! initiative to the Netherlands. At the Stadmakerscongres in Rotterdam, students from institutes including TU Berlin and TU Delft designed the community centre room for Abtswoude Bloeit. Abtswoude Bloeit is an initiative of SHS Delft (the foundation for redevelopment into studeng housing Delft), Pieter van Foreest (care organisation) and Stichting PerspeKtief (care organisation that stands for recovery and participation of vulnerable people). In the former care home Abtswoude students, senior citizens and clients of Stichting PerspeKtief now live together under one roof. On the ground floor there is a communal area: Local residents are also welcome to make use of this room.
In the spring of 2018, students and future residents built what had been designed at the location, under the supervision of architect Kristjan Kaltenbach and a professional furniture maker. The construction work lasted a week and the senior citizens provided lunch every day. The furniture units are made of plywood and are mobile to ensure the flexible use of space. The community centre room functions as a cooking area, dining area, reading and study area and recreation area, and aims to stimulate informal encounters between different residents and generations.
In April 2018 the community centre room was officially opened by the mayor of Delft, Marja van Bijsterveldt, and vice-rector magnificus of TU Delft, Robert Mudde. The mutual contacts still need to grow, but the initial responses of residents are promising.
The process from design to opening was recorded and can be viewed here:
Photos: Wouter Slits, Anand Sie, Fred Ernst