‘Privacy Is Something You Give to Others

Interview with Benno Stegeman


  • Harald Mooij TU Delft, Architecture and the Built Environment


In the 1970s Benno Stegeman Architects realized a number of housing projects in different parts of the Netherlands, whose design and architectural construction reflect a clear vision of a different way of living. The first of these, the Meerzicht Project in Zoetermeer, consisted of dwellings in limestone brick with distinctive orangetinted domed skylights. The houses were arranged in irregular patterns along public walkways lined with planting. In the next project, designed for the Krekenbuurt district in Zwolle, the typology was developed to take parking and outdoor facilities into account. A third development of higher density, the Bergenbuurt Project in Capelle aan den IJssel, consisted of small apartment blocks clustered around traffic routes and, as before, areas of planting.

All three developments continue to be very popular with residents and house hunters today, largely, it seems, due to the unity of the architecture and the quality of the communal spaces. What lies behind this success? Is there something we can learn from these ventures that might be useful for future residential projects? We put the question to Benno Stegeman (b. 1930) himself, still active as an architect and currently working on housing developments for central as well as peripheral urban sites.

Author Biography

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).