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Patio Student Housing

Enschede, Netherlands
1 of 3State Monument

Herman Haan was asked by his mentor Willem Van Tijen (a first generation functionalist modernist) to build a batch of student housing for the campus of a new technical university in Enschede. It is unquestionably his most ‘African’ project. It is also his most structuralist design, a so called mat-building based on a continuous square configuration, that was also one of the Team 10 tropes.

The design consists of seventeen square units, joined in al larger configuration. Each unit consists of a patio with student rooms on two sides. Eight students live in such a patio unit (six one-person rooms, one two-person). Access to the rooms is from the patio, so each student room has his own ‘front-door’. Access to these patio’s themselves is mainly from the roof of the one-storey complex. A foot-path / bicycle road crosses the roof of the complex. The roof itself was one of the first green roofs in the Netherlands, sowed in with grasses. In the middle of the complex a larger central square and pool serves as a meeting place for the student community. The same pavement bricks from the quays of Rotterdam harbour, that he used in his own house and other projects, were used extensively in this one. The project was recently fully restored and established as a National Monument of post-war architecture.