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Research project “In nova fert animus mutatas dicere fromas corpora”
Masterplan for the sound barrier of Ypenburg and project of a multifunctional building.
Data: housing, offices, parking, park, retail mall, multiplex cinema, student house, swimming pool, restaurant and exhibition space, NS railway station.
Location: Ypenburg, Den Haag, The Netherlands.
Year: 2002.

The infrastructure as generator of new forms of architecture.
Mobility is one of the topic issues in contemporary Dutch architecture. In the last years Dutch urban planning policy has been concentrated on the planning of new urban extensions, the VINEX areas. The program includes a total of 635.000 dwellings, built within 2005 on base of a contract signed by central government, provinces and municipalities. About 25.000 dwellings are planned in the seven major cities, 100.000 of which in the internal areas, 161.000 in the remaining urban areas and 177.000 outside of them.
The whole VINEX project will have the greatest impact on the shape of the Dutch cities in the next century, comparable to the reconstruction projects from the post world war II period. The majority of the urban population nowadays lives and works in areas of expansion of the cites. The environment of the contemporary inhabitant is the periphery, which turns to be the new centre. For this reason the life style in those areas is rapidly changing. The traditional model of the family is replaced now by new more complex social models.
This implies the need to avoid planning mistakes, due to the design of mono-functional areas. Projects for multifunctional complexes, with an urban character and a complex and rich program, which could relate to the existing city, were not so far considered. No attention has been given to the possibility of combining public transport with new housing and working typologies, which would adapt to the complex and changing lifestyle of our times.
One of the main Vinex areas is Ypenburg, built on the area of a former airport entering den Haag. The municipalities of Den Haag, Nootdorp, Pijnacker and Rijswijk participated to the project in a joint venture, since they all owned part of the land constituting the VINEX area. The basic program included the construction of 11.000 dwellings and 85ha reserved to offices. Ypenburg is placed in the meeting point of very contrasting environmental situations: preexisting send dunes, the polders to the south and the dynamic world of the highway to the north. This last element in particular contributed to distinguish the area which, thou being situated in the centre of the region, is still isolated from the close villages and city by the highway boundary.
“In nova fert animus mutatas dicere formas corpora” proposes the switch of the traditional concept of “city centre”, into a new “city ring”. The left space of the sound barrier becomes a public band embracing the whole urban area of Ypenburg and offering along the way a continuous program mix which provides the town with an added program, capable to convert it from a “dormitory” into a village, with its own identity. Working on the urban layers allows the combination of the three main realities within the area: the highway, the public space and an added landscape level which resembles nature in its original state.
Folding of the layers and their superimpositions, create different scenarios in every situation, generating a multiple experience always related to the particular condition of each spot. The result generates different life conditions, since the three layers offer very different rhythms of life. A sport centre, a cinema, common spaces, office buildings and parking structures, a students house, are combined with new housing types offering a new dynamic lifestyle for the contemporary suburban inhabitant.