Back, forward!

  • Location

    Haarlem, The Netherlands

  • Project type


  • Year


  • Client

    Neighbourhood Council Welgelegen

The Houtplein is the most important square at the South of the city centre of Haarlem. It links the inner city with the classic park Haarlemmerhout. When asked to give a potential long term vision VE-R wanted to look back in time to jump forward with imaginary visuals. 100 years ago the Houtplein was a long and slowly widening open space guided by facades of classic buildings only used by pedestrians. From the 1950’s public transport got a large impact with trams. In the 1980’s the small scale façade changed when the provincial office occupied the eastern side of the square. The intensification of traffic influenced the space up till the 1990’s leaving hardly any space for pedestrians. VE-R envisioned a continuation of change in this diorama with technological innovations like drones replacing cars, freeing space at street level around 2026, enabling more green space to enhance liveability in 2036, all the way up to vertical access of buildings via new top-up-light-weight-buildings, rebuild old facades with printing technology, making space for water and nature at the Houtplein and a fully pedestrianized and cyclist-domain at ground level in 2066.