The Olympia / Achmea Complex in Hengelo was a appartment building with shops,
Near the Fannie opposite Blankes Koen Stadium, located in the area Veldwijk-noord
(Part of the Berflo es, located on the south side of the railway
Besides shops there (was) is a Shell petrol station. The shops were
among other things, a curtain shop, hobby shop, a pizzeria and a
The building was built in the early to mid 1960's, and the design was derived
from standard flat dwellings, which stood near, and partly also in a another
district of town.
The houses were called "choice plan houses", i.e. the housing that was a standard
design at it's base, with the same properties flats could be build in different places.
This choice of planning control took from 1960-1970, and was loved by the government,
but not so much by local housing corperations, who prefered a design by architects
of their own.
The advantage of choice plan housing was that they where "off the shelf" designs.
Because they where designed by a few renowned architects of the national housing board,
they where inexpensive and therefore only needed a little adjustment in their design.
Local architects used the standard designs as a template, and in the case of Olympia
Complex they also managed to turn it into a interesting architectural composition.
This is somewhat caused by the location, the road passing by has an obtuse angle,
allowing a portion of the block to be at an angle that is not square. Another interesting
aspect is the difference in height of the blocks, and the underpass at the petrol station.
The houses are typical porch floor flats (one part of it), and partly gallery flats.
The way the galleries are applied is somewhat unusual because it also served as a public
balcony. The front doors where not located along the galleries, but where located in a porch
without stairs. Three porches along the galleries did have stairwells.
The building was purchased a few years back by the (merged) housing corperation, that
redevelops the neighborhood. The building has been demolished, and the petrol station will be
moved at a later stage. At the site, new homes and a new retail center will be built.
Personally I regret the standard choice was made for demolition, and therefore I have created
this suggestion for a renovation design. The reason they often choose for demolition, often
has to do with the structural state of such a building, it would be too laborious for the
renovations and to unpractical to achieve new-built construction quality.
I think the choice for demolition is way too easy and does not fit into a notion of sustainability,
the reuse of a building (the supporting structure thereof) will save considerably on costs, including
the fact that you have less waste. Demolition will be limited to stripping the loadbearing structure
wich then becomes the basis for a new building.
Well it is true that an existing stucture poses limitations on the performance of the building,caused
by the thin walls and floors. Also the ceiling and door height does not always meet to new specs, and
the support structure does not always allow to easily redevide the rooms. The cause of this are the
continuously bearing floors (the shallow floor thickness reflects the small spans).
Many shortcomings can be solved, especially by using drywall partition walls and raised floors.
Door heights are adjustable when door frame reaches up til ceiling height. It is much more difficult
to redevide the rooms, beacause that requires structural breakthroughs.
In my renovation concept I have applied a lot of these things and combined them with new facades,
external wall insulation and new balconies and galleries. I also chose for a radically new system for
making structural breakthroughs based on a pilot project called "the flexible breakthrough", from 2003,
The flexible breakthrough requires that parts of the facade are removed and the supporting walls must
be replaced by a steel portal, where a strip section from the floor is cut. The existing flooring must
be temporarely propped, and after that has been done, the floor openings need to be closed again by
pouring concrete. It has to be said that this is a costly intervention, but the dwellings can be used
again for 40 years or so. I also merged a few dwellings horizontally, and I added 3 lifts making it a
more a suitable complex for a broader range of tenants.
A summary of the changes:
- Commercial units have been enlarged.
- New storage units for the appartments.
- New galleries and balcony's, and three lifts have been added.
- Building envloppe insulation, and raised floors.