Dutch city launches catalogue of
architect-designed homes


Dutch city lets first-time buyers build their own homes

News: Dutch city Nijmegen has launched a catalogue of affordable architect-designed housing kits for first-time buyers.

The initiative allows buyers with an annual salary of between €30,000 and €47,000 to choose from 29 designs by different architecture studios. The city has so far allocated 30 plots in the Vossenpels district for the homes, which will be built from prefabricated kits.

Dutch city lets first-time buyers build their own homes

Above: and top: houses by 8A Architecten

Over 20 architects have designed houses for the IbbN scheme - named after a phrase that means "I build affordable in Nijmegen" - including Rotterdam firm 8A Architecten. Studio director Robert Uijttewaal told Dezeen: "I think it's interesting as an architect to work on houses for first-time buyers. We've previously developed these kind of catalogue houses for more wealthy clients, but are trying more and more to develop housing for the lower end of the market. We think that's really important."

The project is based on a scheme piloted in Almere back in 2008, which so far has enabled the construction of nearly 400 new homes. Uijttewaal explains that the project not only helps buyers to get onto the property ladder, but also creates more work for architects. "This is something completely new to the Dutch housing market," he added.

Dutch city lets first-time buyers build their own homes

Above: House by Stan Aarts Architecten

Each residence would be constructed from a kit of prefabricated parts and the architect would work closely with a contractor to deliver the building on a strict budget. "It's not literally IKEA, but we try to make the build time as short as possible," said Uijttewaal, "so all the parts are prefabricated on the building plot and we build it in six to eight weeks."

8A Architecten has designed two houses, including a three-storey townhouse and a gabled two-storey family house. Rotterdam-based Exs Architects has designed a timber-clad stand-alone house, while terraced houses are offered by Dutch firms including Wessel van Geffen Architecten and WY. Architecten. See the complete IbbN catalogue of templates.

Dutch city lets first-time buyers build their own homes

Above: Deckhuis by Exs Architects

Other recent housing initiatives include programmes to build micro-apartments in New York and San Francisco. See more stories about housing on Dezeen.

  • What a wonderful scheme. It doesn't explain how much they actually cost though – that would be interesting to know.

    • Joost

      Hi Kate, you can look up the prices in the pdf on the website of ibbn.

  • ovidiu

    Nothing wrong with a housing kit? Choosing a house from a catalogue is a alright? Seriously?

    • Jim Schramm

      Choosing a house from a catalogue is great. In the US in the 30s and 40s you could get housing plans from a Sears catalogue. All across the country there are craftsman style two-storeys that are Sears homes. Some of them are downright classic.

      What’s wrong with affordable, architect-designed, state of the art, sustainable housing for mid-income buyers? Better than artificially inflated custom-built housing that nobody can afford in today’s economy.

  • Helen

    This is what architects should be doing! (in addition to many other things, not instead of.)

    Australia, why not take this as a cue to bring back Robin Boyd’s 1940s Small Homes Service?

  • Charlotte

    What a great idea, although I’d be interested to see how the various designs work together on a streetscene. The UK should consider something similar.

  • Donkey

    This is exciting.

    Will be interesting to see how an estate grows/looks in the end. Likely more organically than usual due to wealth and breadth of choice.

    Can you pick any of the designs to go next to one another? In the catalogue illustrations they tend to be grouped in clusters of similar. Does your choice of design limit your plot location? Or could you have a street of 29 different houses next to one another?

    Would be great to see that catalogue in English. :)

  • peloti

    Housing catalogue is crappy.

  • Those are some beautiful digital homes!