Floriande is a Vinex neighbourhood on the outskirts of Hoofddorp. The urban clarity of the neighbourhood allows for the creation of a lush village green at the heart of the suburb, and over the last 20 years this island of homes has grown/blossomed into a leafy suburb.

In the early 1990s, the Dutch Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment introduced policy which designated large areas on the outskirts of existing cities for extensive new housing development, resulting in what became known as VINEX neighbourhoods.

Over the following decade hundreds of thousands of homes were built all over the country. The VINEX neighbourhood is both praised for successfully satisfying a demand for homes, and reviled for the suburban monoculture they represent, but regardless, these neighbourhoods have become an established part of the Dutch built fabric.

In the late 1990s SeARCH was commissioned to design 222 single-family houses and 44 apartments in Floriande. Located on the west side of Hoofddorp, Floriande consists of thirteen man-made islands.

SeARCH divided the island site into three, where a wide elongated ‘village green’ separates two residential strips of homes. By concentrating public space into this one well-defined central zone, a largely care-free zone is created that can support an active, lively neighbourhood.

The quality of this space is defined by its generous proportions, enclosed by two walls of terraced housing, a soft gravel floor and a leafy ceiling. While the area behind the terraced homes is subdivided into narrow linear plots typical of old Dutch villages such as Staphorst and Vriezenveen. Here, predominantly freestanding dwellings are shifted backwards and forwards on their plots, to break up the linear nature of the suburb. This simple, subtle movement offers a variety of site conditions along the islands water’s edge.

Hoofddorp, NL
1999 - 2005
Theo Baart, SeARCH