MVRDV's suburban experiment in Ypenburg, completed in 2003. Haggen Island is a cluster of social housing units on a man-made archipelago. While the standard model of row-houses typically involves long strips of units with large thoroughfares in between, the architects decided to break up the units to individual modules and eliminate interior vehicular traffic. By only allowing parking and car-access to an outer ring-road, individual homes were given larger plots of land, and a network of pedestrian paths were created to encourage communal interaction that is child-safe. The separation between buildings also allows for more light, greenspace, and privacy for residents.
A small pallet of materials were selected based on cost and durability, and was uniformly applied to each of the homes. The use of a single material for each unit provides a bold abstraction of the archetypal suburban home, and helps create a sense of identity and ownership for residents. The development serves as a vocal opponent of traditional models of social housing by offering an alternative that emphasizes community, safety, individuality, and affordability.