In early 2016, the housing association has moved from four different locations to one new office in the inner city of Eindhoven. Since the demand for rental properties is large and there will be future developments in the Emmasingel district, the office in the Willemstraat will be transformed into a temporary residential building. After a period of no more than 10 years, the current building will make room for new construction plans that are yet to be developed.
The target audience for these buildings are young people of up to 23 years of age, for whom residential options are limited. On this location, they will have the opportunity to start their housing career among young employees, beneficiaries and young people with supervised housing. On the ground floor, there will also be a studio room for artists and designers. The purpose of this is that they will actively connect the future tenants with the current local residents by means of workshops or joint projects.
With the temporary nature of the transformation of this building in mind, the idea was brought up to recycle old space boxes of the TU/e site, which made this plan an achievable one. The basic idea of the plan is to realize 101 small housing units, 52 of which are space boxes around the perimeter of the building, 27 of which are space boxes inside of the building and the other 22 are regular apartments.
Plugging in these residential units on the Willemstraat is reminiscent of the visionary plan ‘Plug-in City’. Between 1960 and 1974, the architectural firm Archigram made more than 900 construction plans, among which the one for Peter Cook’s plan ‘Plug-in City’. This provocative project depicts a hypothetical fantasy town that consists of modular residential units that have been placed in an infrastructural megastructure as ‘plug-ins’.
This Plug-in City is actually not a town, but a continually evolving framework that contains housing, transportation and other essential facilities for its inhabitants, which are all flexibly relocatable by using giant cranes. Since technology was advancing rapidly, the capsules could be updated quickly, just like new generations of mobile phones and operating systems follow each other these days.
Aiming for permanence was the biggest architectural evil that Archigram wanted to challenge. After all, a building that cannot change will sooner or later turn into a ‘slum’ or an ‘ancient monument’. Boring.