Between 1945 and 1975 almost 700,000 portiek flat dwellings were built in the Netherlands. That translates to almost 10% of the total housing stock. The average size of a portiek dwelling is 60 m2, which is well under the 73m2 minimum designated by the Dutch government as “vulnerable.” On top of this, most of the dwellings are virtually uninsulated, have old and cramped kitchen and toilet areas, and require climbing lots of stairs to get to the living areas. At the same time, the housing type itself has a poor reputation as being “an affordable safety net for immigrants and young starters.”
The design is about re-thinking the portiek dwelling. Instead of a building consisting of six separate living units sharing a central stairwell, it becomes a single unit with the stairwell as a central point for contact. This transformation reflects both the apparent need for a fresh start with these prevalent dwellings and the equally dire need of the vulnerable target groups to benefit from the social network offered with shared housing. The three different designs were made specifically for local target groups who could benefit the most from this type of shared housing: migrant workers, senior citizens, and single parents. While the dwellings were designed specifically for these target groups, the concepts behind them are applicable to a broad range of collective living target groups, including students, families and persons with disabilities.