Principal: Housing corporation De Sleutels, Leiden (2009)
Garden city area is an early twentieth century district, where a major part of the housing is the property of housing corporation De Sleutels. The area is located in the protected cityscape of the southern shell of Leiden. De Sleutels aims to carry out physical interventions in order to improve and renew this public housing district. A heritage assessment provides directives regarding where and in what way such interventions can best be realised. The principal’s most concrete question was how to deal with the downstairs-upstairs apartments at Seringenstraat.
Although it is not built strictly according to the principles of the garden city, Garden city area certainly is a garden area. The greenery in the form of parks, gardens and playgrounds plays an important part. However, like in so many of these kinds of areas, the green zones look chaotic, the open spaces are clogged and the quality of the architecture has been affected by actions like installing plastic window frames and placing dormer windows.
Despite the fact that the area is part of the protected cityscape of Leiden and originally forms a spatial unit, the situation should not be frozen. The challenge lies in finding opportunities for transformation at different scale levels. Each scale, from district and neighbourhood to street and square and to building and apartment, contributes to the quality of the area. Therefore, this heritage assessment contains a planning history as well as a spatial analysis. By means of these instruments the scope of each scale is explored in order to determine where quite literally there is room for renewal or where, on the contrary, preservation and redevelopment offer a perspective.
In the report, the urban planning characteristics and spatial spheres are defined, architectural and urban planning ensembles are rated and the qualities of green zones and inner and fringe areas are indicated. Based on these findings, a well-considered advice has resulted as to where room for transformation can be found or preservation is considered necessary.