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Groningen, Netherlands
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The Palladiumflat was erected as part of the building exhibition "de intense stad" (intensive city) in the city of Groningen in the Netherlands. It foresaw a new housing scheme with 10,000 residential units. The Palladiumflat which is located in the center of Vinkhuizen (a district of Groningen) was the first project of the exhibition to be completed. The building's design aimed at providing life-long housing adaptable to changing needs in an older age. It comprises 44 apartments for the generation of over 50 as well as a public meeting place for senior citizens and takes advantage of the construction principles of large-panel system building (in German also known as "Plattenbau").

The extreme slenderness of the building made it possible to accommodate different self-supporting apartment types - next to the supporting walls which move along the length side of the building - within a system of prefabricated concrete parts. In each unit, the central living area has a width of 8.70 m oriented to both sides of the building - to the lively, urban boulevard in the north as well as to the quiet, common green area on the back of the building to the south. The apartments on the edges have openings on three sides which create the experience to live in a bungalow above ground level.

The variety of unit configurations is also reflected in the facade. It is the result of the logic of the internal layouts and the building's system design. On the facade floor-to-ceiling living room windows alternate with smaller windows of bedroom and smaller rooms on every other floor. This play of closed and transparent spaces which is repeated every second floor is enhanced by the fact that the large windows are flush with the facade, while the small windows slightly withdraw from it.

This design concept makes for a unique spatial experience on the the upper floor levels which was realized through the use of the cost-effective construction principles of large-panel system building. Due to the enhanced flexibility of self-supporting floor plans, the scheme can also be easily adapted to changing future housing needs which makes it socially, environmentally and economically sustainable.

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johanneskappler, July 25th, 2011
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