MVRDV wins Swiss
housing competition


Housing in Emmen by MVRDV

News: Dutch studio MVRDV has won a competition to design 95 homes in Emmen, Switzerland, with plans that give every residence an identifiable colour.

Housing in Emmen by MVRDV

The Feldbreite housing competition called for a new housing block, but MVRDV instead proposed a series of houses and apartment buildings arranged around shared courtyards and individual gardens.

Housing in Emmen by MVRDV

Apartment blocks will be positioned at the corners of the development, while townhouses will line the edges and smaller residences will be inserted into the middle. The architects hope this arrangement will foster a neighbourhood community.

Housing in Emmen by MVRDV

The 95 homes will be made up of 16 different unit types, ranging from 30 to 130 square metres in area, and forming a mixture between one and four storeys.

Housing in Emmen by MVRDV

Different pastel colours will help residents to identify their own homes, based on the traditional paintwork found in historic Swiss town centres.

Housing in Emmen by MVRDV
Design concept - click for larger image

MVRDV worked with landscape architects Fontana to design the exterior spaces. Fruit trees will be dotted across the gardens, while dividing walls will include demountable tables and benches, as well as folding panels that can be used for table tennis.

Housing in Emmen by MVRDV
Site masterplan - click for larger image

Underground parking will be slotted beneath the buildings and construction is set to commence in 2015.

Housing in Emmen by MVRDV
Ground floor plan - click for larger image

MVRDV, led by architects Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs and Nathalie de Vries, recently completed a glazed shop and office complex disguised as an old farmhouse and a renovation in Gangnam, South Korea. See more architecture by MVRDV »

Housing in Emmen by MVRDV
Site sections - click for larger image

The architects have also teamed up with Dezeen to give away a copy of their new book, entitled MVRDV Buildings. Find out how to enter »

Housing in Emmen by MVRDV
Units types - click for larger image

Here's some information from MVRDV:

MVRDV win Competition in Emmen, Switzerland with Urban Hybrid

The city of Emmen has announced that investment corporation Senn BPM AG together with MVRDV are the winners of the Feldbreite competition for a housing block with 95 homes of 16 different types. The urban hybrid development combines characteristics of city dwelling – central location, privacy, underground parking – with the characteristics of suburban life: gardens, multilevel living and a neighbourhood community. Construction is envisioned to start in 2015.

Housing in Emmen by MVRDV

Instead of the housing block asked for by the brief, MVRDV created a mixed urban block with small apartment buildings at the corners, townhouses along the streets and garden and patio houses inside the block. The 16 different housing types, which vary in size from 30 to 130 m2 and from one to four floors, will naturally attract a mixed group of inhabitants, an important factor in creating a vivid urban environment. The project consists of 9000 m2 of housing, 2034 m2 services and 2925 m2 underground parking.

Housing in Emmen by MVRDV

Each house or apartment will have its own facade colour, emphasising its individual ownership. A pastel range of colour was chosen based on the specific colours traditionally found in historic Swiss town centres in the Lucerne area, such as Beromünster.

Housing in Emmen by MVRDV

An important aspect of the project is the high quality of construction in combination with relatively low prices. Clients will be able to buy a more or less finished house – comparable to the basic model of a new car – with options leading up to almost full fit and finish possible. Home owners with little money can therefore delay investment, or do the work themselves, and still live in a high quality, new build home.

Housing in Emmen by MVRDV

The exterior of the block is a varied urban street front whilst the interior offers the quality of a green and intimate village. The interior of the block is divided into both private and public spaces, with dividing walls used to hang tables or benches and parts of the walls which can be rotated and used for table tennis. A cohesive landscaping plan foresees a wide variety of fruit trees in the courtyard, in both the private and public areas. The garden and patio houses in the centre of the courtyard have their own entrance doors at the outer perimeter of the block. The roofs will be used for additional outdoor space.

Housing in Emmen by MVRDV

MVRDV won the developer's competition together with development corporation Senn BPM AG, Fontana Landscape architects and Wüest & Partner real estate consulting.

  • mmmhhh

    How come they were able to submit a design with no accessibility regulation?

    • Kevin

      The plans for the apartments look like they have elevators so those would be fully accessible.

      I like the density – looks a lot like the view out of my rear windows when I lived in San Francisco. However the range of architectural styles were much more varied. I’m hoping this is just a program plan – that there will actually be different window types, cladding materials etc. It’s rather repetitious the way it’s currently shown.

  • Desk

    Are we going back to the 1980s? Rollerskates, tight sweatpants and bandanas.

  • Zizi

    What a sad looking place. Sorry for those who will have to live there.

  • hiphop

    Awful! Just awful.

  • Allen Prusis

    I think this is an absolute great design in terms of planning, organisation and density. Too bad it doesn’t have a little more detail, pattern, variety, variation in materials, character AND/OR awareness of genus loci/place to make it a bit less generic and bit more special.

    This is so much better than the all-too-frequent apartment blocks in some “clever” attention-getting new shape in the middle of a park or plaza.

  • Future tense

    Shit. Where’s my phone? Damn! step, step step step… step step step step… no, not there. Maybe I left it in the other pocket of my bag… step step step step step… step step… step step.. step.. step. No!

    And so on and so forth – when was a family home over 4 levels a good idea? Has no one at MVRDV had kids? And how about overlooking? Good that they have proposed a far more intimate solution but they haven’t had much practice at planning dense sites.

  • Twitch

    Sad, very sad, ugly, too Dutch, not practical.

    All the colours of the rainbow won’t light up the dark courtyards.

    No progress in architecture with this kind of design. Very sad, again.

  • BlueLikeOrange

    Totally agree with Allen Prusis. It is a simple, playful and positive scheme with highly permeability and interesting semi-public space.

    I’d like to work on this kind of project and live there of course.

  • Zed

    Sunlight? Overlooking? Blast it all, this looks like a fun place to live in.

    Urban, dense and lots of houses for everyone. Hopefully that will reduce the market cost.

    I can also see this being built in Birmingham or Dubai.

    Go on, let’s see it being built now.

  • LAF

    I would imagine the restrictions in a small Swiss town were pretty damn tight on massing, materials and colours (being a country that actually banned any form of Islamic minaret).

  • I don’t understand this project. It’s just like any regular block from my city!

  • Wouldn’t work in Detroit.

  • Throughout the world, this type of cluster housing is consistently chosen to be the most popular existence. In this proximity, humans feel convivial and connected yet private, unlike the alienating social gaps that are found in the suburbs of countries like Australia.

  • melbournian

    I can so see it being built. Oh! Here’s one already pre-made:

    Who is to blame – the one who is paying? Or the one who designed? Being an architect, I am still yet to see a dirt cheap building that can last a lifetime and worth commending.

    I’m not sure about cost of construction in Europe, but in my opinion, Australia is fairly high! Electricians in Australia live in mansions, while architects live in small apartments.

  • What

    Fancy ghetto.