Over the last 5 years, a new town centre has been constructed in Eschmarke, a small satellite town on the outskirts of Enschede. The masterplan, a linear strip of small scale commercial and communal activities, is bordered by dense woodland to the west and sports fields to the east. Our project occupies a prominent and highly visible location on the northern edge of this strip at the intersection of two busy streets, Gronausestraat and Eschmarkelaan.

At first glance, the organisation of the separate functional requirements is not complementary. The shops would function best if orientated towards the two main streets (to the north and the east) while the housing would benefit most if orientated for views and direct sunlight (to the south and the west). Furthermore, the small site suggests that the functions should be stacked, but a ‘tower’ model is inappropriate for the context. And there is potentially a conflict in combining private car parking for the inhabitants with public parking for the shoppers.

Our ambition has been to resolve these problematics in one conceptual move. As a means to rethink the site, the private parking is located above the shops. A broad ramp makes a seamless connection between the ground and first floor level and provides direct access to the houses for inhabitants arriving by foot, bicycle or car. The spiraling ramp continues to form a spectacular profile to the building and provides access to private gardens and roof terraces. The ground floor shops are oriented to the two main streets. Public parking for the shops is distributed around the building and incorporated within a global landscaping strategy.

Location: Eschmarke, NL
Year: 2003
Status: Completed 2007
Site: 0.5 ha
Program: 2,200 m2 shops, 27 dwellings, 93 parking places
Client: ING Vastgoed BV, Den Haag
Associates: DAAD Architecten
Engineer: Royal Haskoning
Building costs: Euro 5,100,000