In the Utrecht city extension area Langerak we completed two blocks with 240 units of affordable housing. All dwellings minimally have one parking space in an underground car parking. Higher volumes mark the ends of each block. The facades are finished with bronze coloured aluminium window frames and sand coloured brick work with darker bricks marking the entrances, the plinth and the floor levels. The blocks do not possess fronts and backs and introduce the architecture of the city in de suburb.
We got the commission after a number of unsuccessful developments. The project seemed unfeasible. Ultimately construction cost were limited to € 650,- per square meter (ex. VAT).
The project was published in Brick Bulletin and Architectenweb Magazine. The design was nominated for the Rietveld Award and the Fritz Högerpreis 2011 and was presented at the Bienale of Sao Paulo by NAI.
'Despite the hints to its suburban context the buildings remain strongly urban in character. The facades face imaginary streets, streets that are lacking in Vinex-districts. As a result, the project is somewhat at odds with its context, but can also be appreciated as a subtle critique of the city that is dissolving towards its fringes. biq holds a mirror up to the city’s face: there are other ways of doing things.'
Michiel van Raaij