Common Grounds

Arnhem (NL), 2021



Linking the existing and the new, merging city and nature, bringing together current and future residents and entrepreneurs – with Common Grounds as a connecting hub, Arnhem’s Coehoorn was set to become a collective community rather than just a collection of buildings.

Collective creativity
Between Arnhem’s Central Station and the Nelson Mandela bridge over Nederrijn river, we acknowledged the potential of the Coehoorn plot as an attractive neighborhood hotspot. Inspired by the development model of Berlin blocks, we designed Common Grounds bottom-up, together with the neighbors. The outcome: existing and newbuilt apartments organized on an amenity packed creative plinth. The lively public base, accessible from all sides and intersected by an internal street, would find its quiet counterbalance in a lush green, shared, sloping courtyard garden, extending the adjacent park.

Collective energy
The team furthermore shared the ambition to turn the block into a nature-inclusive and energy-positive ensemble. First, we provided all low-lying roofs with abundant greenery so the view for current residents would improve considerably. To achieve energy-positivity, we proposed a partnership with the Du Soleil-flat opposite. The team aimed to invest in a solar roof of the flat to generate sustainable neighborhood energy.
Next to generating shared energy, limiting the electricity demand was at the core of the design. Even, we came up with an app displaying energy consumption data in a game-like interface, to encourage residents to minimize energy consumption through awareness.


Name: Common Grounds
Location: Coehoorn Plot 3, Bergstraat - Nieuwe Plein
Status: Competition Finalist
Client: Gemeente Arnhem


VenhoevenCS: Jos-Willem van Oorschot, Tom Padding, Anna Hering
Developer:Kondor Wessels Projecten b.v.
Landscape architect:DS landschapsarchitecten
Other:Phi factory (sustainability and circularity advisor), Cauberg Huygen (sustainability advisor), Wessels Rijssen, NiCo, H2A
Images: B1 Design