Frisia-woningen Amersfoort

A.H. van Wamelen


  • Dick van Gameren TU Delft, Architecture and the Built Environment



In 1918 a retired teacher and an ex-professional soldier founded a ‘middle-class housing association’, which they named Frisia. Their aim was to introduce a new form of living, whereby likeminded people were housed in compact, yet comfortable and relatively low-cost dwellings. The target group was ‘educated and cultured, including retirees, who wished to continue to live as cultured and educated people even after the considerable shrinkage of their income’. The association commissioned architect A.H. van Wamelen (1885-1962) to produce a design for 41 dwellings on a site at the foot of the Amersfoortse Berg, which had been under development as a high-quality residential area for some time. Central to the plans were a number of collective amenities, such as a central laundry area, and a manager and a housekeeper for heavy work. The design sketches were published in Wendingen in 1920 and captioned ‘communication homes’, an allusion to the project’s ambitions.

Van Wamelen designed a complex of six rows of dwellings: four long rows on either side of Schaepmanlaan and Piersonlaan, plus two smaller blocks with other dwelling types on Borgesiuslaan, opposite the northernmost homes at the ends of the four rows. The basic type of dwelling in the four long rows is relatively wide and shallow. Two connecting rooms, a third reception room, a T-shaped hall with a central staircase and a kitchen have been ingeniously combined to create the most compact layout possible. The stairs lead to four bedrooms below a spacious attic. The corner dwelling types provide considerably more space, with an extended kitchen and a bay window on the third reception room. A weighty chimney element in the centre of the house supports the high roof.


Author Biography

Dick van Gameren, TU Delft, Architecture and the Built Environment

Dick van Gameren is dean and full professor at the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment of Delft University of Technology, and partner at Mecanoo architecten in Delft, the Netherlands. Combining his work as an architect with a professorship, Van Gameren maintains a critical approach to design by lecturing, researching and publishing. In 2007, Van Gameren won the prestigious Aga Kahn Award for the design of the Dutch Embassy in Ethiopia. In 2008, Van Gameren founded the book series DASH (Delft Architectural Studies on Housing) and is since then editor in chief. At TU Delft. He leads the Global Housing Study Centre and is also board member of the Archiprix foundation, of the Jaap Bakema Study Centre in Rotterdam and of the Amsterdam based AMS Institute. He is also a member of the TU Delft Global Initiative Steering Committee.






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