2010003, Renovation concept
Olympiasquare Hengelo

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 Hengelo-Enschede).

Besides shops there (was) is a Shell petrol station. The shops were among other things, a curtain shop, hobby shop, a pizzeria and a local pub.

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, in Amsterdam.

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.

concept 1

concept 2

concept 3

concept 4

underpass 1

inner yard 1

inner yard 2

gallery 1

gallery 2

rear-side shops

shops 1

shops 2

existing dwellings



new 1

new 2

rear-side shops - new

inner yard-new


new 3

new 4


new galleries

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