• Dick van Gameren TU Delft, Architecture and the Built Environment
  • Annenies Kraaij Amsterdam Academy of Architecture
  • Harald Mooij TU Delft, Architecture and the Built Environment


Exactly 20 years ago, Rem Koolhaas predicted the rediscovery of the Tanthof, a woonerf or home zone in Delft, in his infamous diatribe against the era’s neomodernism, How Modern Is Dutch Architecture? The prediction was no more than an ironic, perhaps even sarcastic interjection in his Philippic, aimed at riling young colleagues such as Mecanoo or DKV. Although Koolhaas’s prophecy has not come true (yet), the ‘cauliflower neighbourhoods’, the derogatory label now attached to the suburban developments from the 1970s and ’80s, are undeniably due a reassessment. The fact that the neighbourhoods and houses are falling into disrepair and the composition of the population is changing, is putting them back on the radar of institutional managers and policymakers. The first few studies and surveys have already been carried out, but the fate of this collection of mass small-scale developments and planned everyday happiness has yet to be decided.

In professional circles it is certainly the done thing to dismiss the architecture and planning from this era as one big mistake. Some people are even calling for a large-scale reconstruction effort, similar to the one targeting post-war neighbourhoods. But at the same time there are signs of a nostalgic revival among the generation that grew up with the aesthetics of cosiness, sunken seating areas, railway sleepers and washed gravel stones in the garden. The 2004 NAI exhibition and publication The Critical Seventies, in which the socalled ‘new twee’ was quite prominent, was an early expression of this revival.

Author Biographies

Annenies Kraaij, Amsterdam Academy of Architecture

Annenies Kraaij studied urban design and public housing at Delft University of Technology. After graduation she worked for various clients on design commissions in inner-city as well as expansion areas. Since 1989 she has worked as an urban design project designer on a number of large-scale local development projects in Amsterdam and Rotterdam. In addition she has taught at the Amsterdam Academy of Architecture and published various journal articles and books. She produced many of the photo reports for DASH.

Harald Mooij, TU Delft, Architecture and the Built Environment

Harald Mooij studied architecture and building technology at Delft University of Technology and at the Istituto Universitario di Architettura di Venezia (IUAV). He is an architect in The Hague and is currently involved in various projects, including housing. He has been a lecturer and researcher at Delft University of Technology in the Chair of Architecture and Dwelling since 2004. He writes regularly for professional journals in the Netherlands and abroad, is co-editor of DASH and co-author of the book Housing Design: A Manual, published in 2008 (English edition in 2011).