Dutch Mountains

BNA Young Architects – Vertical city for families, The Netherlands


Competition 2010, Nominated


In collaboration with Sander Lap


For: BNA, Proper Stok and Ymere





For city life it´s important to find a balance between individuality and collectivity, diversity and solidarity. It seems like a paradox that the great potential for the vertical city lies in the qualities of suburban living. This proposal shows that by stacking horizontal orientated houses, it´s possible to invest in urban facilities focused on the individual, as well as in a more suburban collectivity where you still know your neighbours.


There lies a big responsibility for the parents to find security and care for their children, since more and more people try to combine a career with parenthood. That´s why no risks are taken when choosing a place to live and learn. For the Dutch Mountain the school is the basical element, it´s realisability determines the size of the building. One kindergarten needs approximately 100 families to be feasible, this number becomes leading in the design.
Every city is different in population (size and characteristics) leading to a flexible concept for the Dutch Mountains concerning housing typologies and services, guided by the specific local market. The individual towers offer, because of fragmenting the total building, a great range of possible fases. So called ´fourspanners´ organized around a central core can be freely arranged and their configuration adepts to individual desire. This pragmatism anticipates on the reality that buildings of this size cannot be developed at once, but need to grow in time, following changing markets. The smaller element is the tower, three of these are grouped around the core and form one phase. But each tower is a ´microphase´ in itself with it´s own height and width, creating individuality in the whole.


Not only the quality of the dwelling and proximity of a school is essential when choosing a location to settle, but also the street and quality of public space. The Dutch Mountain has, by placing the parking garage in the heart of the building, an all sided child friendly public plinth, containing all facilities. The rooftops are used to house special programme giving a unique identity to each building. In the most optimal situation the building is located adjacent to a park or square, making a friendly and representative adress.
Inside the courtyard, green cores covered with plants, house the access and collective spaces. These cores add to a healthy internal climate by filtering the city air and their design makes a more natural appearance in contrast to the powerful image of the housing towers.