Casanova+Hernandez architects | A013_Super Shell Houses


A013_Super Shell Houses

Groningen, Netherlands

Personalization of the house

The increasing of freedom of choice in our life is in charge of transforming our ‘given biography’ into the ‘elective biography’, the ‘reflexive biography’, the ‘do-it-yourself biography’, as Beck put it.

If we understand the house as an important element of our biography linked to our way of living, a wide freedom of design choice should be provided in order to configure nowadays an elective living habitat.

In this project several strategies have been applied to allow the personalization of the houses:

Read More

Personalization of the house by ‘Do-It-Yourself’

By choosing this strategy, the house is thought and designed by the user under certain frame conditions. The user becomes the architect of his house in the same way he is becoming nowadays the architect of his own life.

The ‘Super-Shell’ houses system provides the user maximum level of freedom to personalize his house. The house is sold completely empty, offering only the structure and the facades, without any installations or rooms inside. Three strategically holes located in the floors allow the user to choose the position of the installations within the house after buying it.

The possibility of placing kitchen, toilets and bathrooms in very different positions, combined with the flexibility of choosing the position for the rest of the rooms, increases enormously the number of possible layouts of the house and its level of personalization.

Personalization of the house by ‘Choosing options’

Another strategy tested in this project to offer a wide range of possibilities to personalize the houses, has been to provide seven different layouts of ground floors, first floors and second ones printed on transparent paper. The user self has been able to combine the transparent papers to decide which layout suits better his way of living.

In total 343 layouts are possible with this system.

Personalization of the house: facades

A catalogue of different façade types has also been provided to personalize further the house in order to satisfy the interior necessities of light, views and possible open air spaces.
On the one hand the personalization of the exterior of the house reinforces the contrast between individual and collective identity and reflects the social conflict between individualization and society. On the other hand the personalization of the house avoids the typical result of the housing system of the first modernity according to which every family had the same identical dwelling with the same appearance.

Hide Text
Nijestee Vastgoed
38 row houses, 40 social row houses, 36 'Super-Shell' flexible houses (living and working typology)
20.154 m²
Van der Weele, Groningen
Munnik advisers, Groningen
€ 15.490.000
Christian Richters, Theo Bos, Pepijn van den Broeke