It is surprising that in a miraculously flat country like the Netherlands only so few towers emerge. The potential of the unobstructed view -as one of the main topics in Dutch painting- is in housing under developed.
There seems to be a collective fear of elevators. (Which maybe explains the success of the Dutch movie Down -originally ‘De Lift’). Prisma takes the view - one of the most glamorous properties of dwelling- as starting point. And at the same time celebrates the blessings of outdoor space. Prisma is a housing project for 52 apartments in a total of 16 stories and some additional facilities in the city of Groningen.
The building consists of a simple stacking of the desired apartment types. The largest are below, the smaller ones on top: a weirdly proportioned Ziggurat. The contour reminiscent of the archetype of the high rise: in a way comparable to the Manhattan zoning. This rational structure serves as the backbone for a more frivolous addition.
The balconies are draped around the structure almost like couture. As a first act the corners of the stepped volume are connected. The surplus of balcony that emerges as a consequence now is excavated. We took as point of departure that per category of apartments the balconies should be the same size.
But the proportions change depending on the position in the block. Since from top to bottom the dept of the terraces increases, the width has to diminish. So from relatively wide and shallow, they develop to more slim and deep.
The block appears as one, a single gesture but at the level of the dwelling there is differentiation, form apartment to apartment the outdoors space is unique and individual.
The building will basically attract active elderly that hopefully will be able to spend the rest of their lives there. At ground level there is a nursery and children’s playground and medical facility.
The entrance of these facilities and the apartments are combined in an attempt to enhance the regular dimensions that are quite limited: welcome!