Haarlemmermeer (NL), 2025
Cruquius Estate, a beautiful landscape and epilepsy estate from the 60s designed by the famous landscape architect Hans Warnau, used to be the home of a healthcare institution for epilepsy patients. As the institution required less space, housing could be added and the estate was redeveloped as Wickevoort Estate. VenhoevenCS was commissioned by AM to make the master plan and related architectural guidelines. Ton Venhoeven is currently involved as supervisor to guide other architects’ designs.
The new layout of this estate is based on the remaining landscape qualities and the exceptional setting. First, the master plan was designed to respect existing trees and plants as much as possible. As in all plans by VenhoevenCS, a robust ecosystem is key, with extensive attention for biodiversity and the quality of soil, water and green. Wickevoort Estate also contributes to a circular economy with collective and private vegetable gardens and many other collective spaces and services. All houses are net zero energy homes and there is a car sharing service. With houses and apartments ranging from affordable to upper middle class, we aim to create an open, mixed income community.
The main structure of the estate is based on what is called the ‘Estate Principle’. Two main gates and flanking buildings give access to the main lanes, two monumental and strategically positioned corner buildings provide orientation in the asymmetric design of the estate. A central bicycle lane connects the estate with neighboring nature reserves and foot paths provide ample opportunities for an encounter with neighbors, shortcuts, playing kids, or a walk with the dog. Typical elements as brick walls, gates and bridges are added to suggest a sense of enclosure without creating a gated community.
Following the architectural guidelines, all new housing projects should be oriented on the surrounding landscape. Houses are preferably placed directly in the landscape, without roads, front doors or front gardens. Parked cars stay out of sight as much as possible. To enjoy the landscape and promote outdoor living, the addition of verandas, balconies, terraces and bay windows is highly recommended. By using earth colors, natural materials and flat or slightly sloping roofs, the architecture will have a minimalistic and serene character to achieve a harmonious combination with the natural beauty of the site.
The existing healthcare institution and its inhabitants will remain and existing amenities, such as the horse-riding school, petting zoo and swimming pool, will be used by both patients and new residents. A new farm will be added, with the farmer providing food and extra services for the inhabitants. Thus Wickevoort Estate will also become a City Farm, with the farmer as manager of the new Wickevoort community.