The project of 26 houses on the Reitdijk in Groningen is our third project in collective private commissions (CPO). With the effort of the residents and the expression of their wishes for their homes and their neighborhood, we can create a special street and neighborhood that is not possible with the top-down approach of mainstream urbanism. Collective commissioning we see as a laboratory for collectivity and individuality to play, mix and clash. The premise of such a statement is that individual residents have come together to provide a cozy and sustainable neighborhood with less money, where they can build their own home to their own wishes. This principle requires individuality and collectivity simultaneously. We see it as a great opportunity to work out the optimum tension, a tension which in a regular task is not present and gives an opportunity to create an authentic and unique neighbourhood. That is what we are concerned, a very important aspect of sustainability.
In the 26 houses on the Reitdijk the urban plan of the city of Groningen was a starting point, on one side of the street terraced houses with staggered facades and on the other hand, two-under-one-detached houses. Special features of this plan we found the deep front yard for terraced houses and the jumps. We then got the idea to create a stately English mansion-like image. To strengthen the picture of the jumps, we gave the residents various options and variations for the extensions being offered. Each resident should have several different options of depth and shape of the extension to make a choice that was appropriate for his wishes. We were excited that the shifting image of the facade by the individual choice of the occupants was strenghtened. This means that we do not know in advance what the final streetscape would look, we only knew that in any case a beautiful streetscape would arise. In collective commissioning we find it important that the individual choices of residents affect the image of the building, while maintaining a beautiful and special collective face of the neighborhood arises.