Celsius is a neighbourhood in the Eindhoven district of Woensel-West. It used to be a working-class residential area with lively front gardens, many children on the streets, starting entrepreneurs and artists living in cheap homes. However, the neighbourhood also faced socio-economic problems. Therefore housing association st. Trudo initiated a plan to transform the district. Under the heading “Since tastes differ” the plan aims at a hip, colourful neighbourhood with abundant street life and social stability. Buro Lubbers designed the urban development plan in collaboration with Tarra Architecture & Urbanism. The public space was also designed by Buro Lubbers.
Spatial framework of four quarters
The urban development plan is based on four scale levels: the Woensel district, the Celsius neighbourhood, four residential quarters and the housing blocks. The spatial structure of Celsius consists of a central urban axis (Edisonstraat) crossed by green residential streets. This grid forms a strong framework that distinguishes four residential quarters. Since these quarters are part of the framework, they can differ in character while the neighbourhood’s overall identity, green and colourful, remains.
As the connecting backbone of Celsius, the Edisonstraat itself is redesigned as such. So the street’s profile sets it apart from its surroundings. Also, new vegetation gives the street its own recognisable and colourful character by simultaneously improving the user quality of public space. The new buildings at the Edisonstraat form a kind of urban wall towards the quarters behind. On the ground floor, small shops and businesses are located that further create a lively atmosphere.
The four residential quarters behind the Edisonstraat each are oriented on their own central courtyard. These green courtyards offer residents space to walk and bike, meet and greet; the car is banned. Quiet side streets with walking paths underneath trees are connected to a nearby park zone. These side streets also offer access to parking courts. Finally, between the streets, courts and housing blocks, alleys and gateways offer a pleasant network to wander around the four quarters of Celsius.
Green and colourful public space
The first residential quarter is as green as can be. Every space that has no infrastructural function, is filled with pollinator-friendly borders and trees, so in every season residents can enjoy colourful nature. Additionally facades and boundary partitions are greenified by climbing plants. The central building in the courtyard thus has a green appearance at all four sides. Fire escapes and parking courts all are planted as well. Finally, all residents can choose their own do-it-yourself kit with plants of their choice to give the front of their house a green touch.
The second residential quarter celebrates Celsius’ hallmark as being an outdoor living room. The urban structure is conceptualised as the layout of a house. Three gates (the front door) lead to three smaller courts (the hall) that in their turn offer entrance to the central courtyard (the living room). This central court is decorated with a carpet of grass with trees. It is a relaxing space to hang out, have a picknick, or exercise. The houses facing the central courtyard have veranda’s that are greenified with climbing plants. These outdoor spaces are actively used by its residents in the same way as the lively front gardens did in the earlier days of Celsius.
Urban development plan and architecture: Tarra Architectuur & Stedenbouw.
Client: st. Trudo.
Project location: Celsius, Eindhoven, Netherlands
Design year: 2013-2019
Year Built: 2017-2020