Co-Living Development Built on a Potato Field in the Netherlands

©. Filip Dujardin via V2com-newswire

Here's how people work together to build their own homes cooperatively.

"Co-Living" happens when a group of people get together to build their own housing. In the Oosterwold Co-living Complex designed by bureau SLA & Zakenmaker, the architects recommended it as a way of reducing costs, since it is cheaper to build a few housing units than to build just one.

Oosterwold coliving in distance

© Filip Dujardin via V2com-newswireIt is a very simple design, a 328 foot long, low building built on a very tight budget on the side of a potato field. It's stark and modern and looks like an airport in the distance, But up close it gets a lot more interesting. Floors and walls are made of wooden boxes filled with cellulose. Not much was designed for the interior; the residents finished each of the 1,600 square foot units themselves.

windows with colour

© Filip Dujardin via V2com-newswire

The façade is designed to give maximum freedom of choice within an efficient building system. Each family received a plan for seven windows and doors, which can be placed in the façade. The space between the frames is vitrified with solid parts of glass without a frame. This creates an uncluttered but diverse façade.

It is raised above the ground to "float"over the field, but also, since it is not a slab on grade, it gives the residents full freedom inside because they can put the plumbing anywhere.

Co-living is becoming popular because it not only reduces costs upfront, but has continuing benefits from sharing resources.

interior of units

© Filip Dujardin via V2com-newswire

In the end, the tight budget, which first seemed to be an issue, became a key feature of the project. Completing the interiors of the homes has strengthened the bond within the community. After all the hard work, in the summer after completion, in the lee of the surrounding forest edge, one meter above ground level, the residents look out over their shared landscape and vegetable garden.

windows with colour

© Filip Dujardin via V2com-newswire

When you get up close, the simplicity of the design gives way to the texture of people living – the kids' toys, the different draperies, the individual touches.

plan of units

© Bureau SLA via V2Com-newswire

When you look at the plan, you can see how different all the units really are.

TreeHugger has shown lots of Co-Living, Cohousing and Baugruppen, because it is such a great model for building good housing at reasonable costs. It's extremely common in Europe, but we could use a lot more of it in North America. Time to start looking for potato fields.