2013006, Housing in ammobunkers
and F16 shelters






This design is a concept for the repurposing of F16 shelters and ammunition bunkers as dwellings. The idea was conceived because the issues regarding the former Twente airbase into an commercial airport. The design emerged out of my interest in the repurposing of old heritage. What I like in particular about old military heritage are the rugged concrete structures and the characteristic appearance of the hardened F16 shelters. In my design I merged together three ammunition bunkers into two large dwellings, where the central bunker is used as a joint garage. My intension was to preserve as much of the original details (such as the characteristic doors) as possible. I made two different designs for the F16 shelters, one with two small dwellings, and one with one large dwelling. Admittedly, the bunkers lean themselves more for residential usage.

What I find interesting about the ammunition bunkers is that they are embedded into the landscape (they are covered with soil and trees). This embedding had a very important camouflage function during the cold war era, simply to cloak them from the air. From the air (or satellite images) they simply look like hills with trees. Old bunkers such as these also lean themselves well as storage space for foodstuffs, some bunkers on the Twente airbase are in use by a cheese maker as maturing cellar. This is possible because the temperature and humidity provide ideal conditions for this. There are some other former ammunition storage facilities that have been repurposed, such as the Stegerveld in Ommen (Netherlands), where the old bunkers have been converted into a healthcare estate. This gave me the idea that perhaps, they could also be converted into dwellings.

The F16 shelters at the former Twente air force base have a very characteristic appearance, they where built around 1973-1974. The same type was also built on a few other air force bases in the Netherlands, and their design is very similar to the ones built in Denmark and Norway. A novelty are the hydraulic doors who have hinges in the floor that allows them to tilt inside, and are recessed into the floor to create a smooth drivable surface. The shelters where probably built with a mobile tunnel formwork system (similar to a formwork used for constructing bridges and viaducts). The shape of the shelters is both practical as well as strategic. Their form conceals them better in the landscape and they kinda look like agricultural barns. This allows for good camouflage. Their design concept is reminiscent of the heated hangers that the Germans used to have on WW2 airfields. These had an appearance of a farmyard barn to camouflage them.

The dwellings in the bunkers are quite roomy, the F16 shelter has two design variants, i.e. one variant with two small dwellings (not a good variant), and one with a large dwelling. To make residential use possible, there is a need to create some big openings in the structure.

What I have noticed with this design is that the ammunition bunkers where easily convertible into dwellings, and that the F16 shelters lean themselves more as storage space or commercial space.

In the links below you can view images with design suggestions and photo's who where made at the open day at the twente airfield, September 2014. Further, there are two links (in Dutch) to external websites with some additional info about the repurposing of the ammunition depot complex Stegerveld in Ommen.



f16 shelter - original condition

ammo bunkers - construction

f16 shelter - option 1

f16 shelter - floor plan first floor

ammo bunkers  - dwelling

ammo bunkers - floor plan

ammo bunkers - interior 1

ammo bunkers - interior 2

f16 shelter - twente airbase

ammo bunker - twente airbase

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