Plaspoelpolder Harbor District


The current construction challenge lies predominantly within existing urban areas. In a rapidly densifying Randstad, places with favorable (public transport) accessibility, proximity to (city) amenities, or scenic quality are most attractive for transformation and densification. In the Havenkwartier, these factors overlap and merge into a new form of urbanity. It's not the familiar central urban environment but centrality through positive location characteristics. The city's edge becomes the place to be.

Currently, Havenkwartier is primarily an industrial zone. Approximately 20% of the buildings in this oldest part of Plaspoelpolder are currently vacant. The transformation of the harbor area into a mixed urban area involves densification and adding around 2500 residences while preserving business activity. After joint planning with developers and the municipality of Rijswijk, the Spatial Framework for the Plaspoelpolder Harbor Area has been established. This framework provides guidance for organic planning. In an area of about 20 hectares, transformation and new construction create space for a mixed and sustainable urban area with nautical qualities.

Havenkwartier will become a sustainable, mixed, and water-rich urban neighborhood. A distinction is made between the framework of public space and the implementations of building plots. This embodies the inherent resilience of Urban Planning 3.0; stability and flexibility go hand in hand. Through regulations, there’s a focus on mixed-use, coherence and variation, climate-adaptive and nature-inclusive construction, building height, density, ground floors, and natural connections to the surroundings.

Rijswijk is a green city. Adding high-density urbanity is not easily reconcilable with this. Therefore, Havenkwartier is constructed based on the intrinsic qualities of public space; extending long lines, green-blue street profiles, and the introduction of Rijswijk’s building height (4+1 floors). Upon this grounded certainty, a top layer with taller buildings emerges. The uniqueness of Havenkwartier integrates into a series of Rijswijk environments with their own profile, strengthening the underlying and continuous leafy urban field. These characteristic environments, through their uniqueness, enrich the city’s identity.

Within the building plots, spaciousness is encouraged, in exchange for which developers gain additional building rights. All building plans surrender 20% of their territory. This space takes the form of so-called pocket places. Small town squares, quays, courtyards, etc., are integral parts of the spatial concept and contribute to public space. These pocket places foster social and emotional connections and enable a diversity of housing types and residents. With higher densities and smaller households, the importance of collectivity increases. This is found in the enduring quality of public space and how buildings are oriented toward it. The layered spatiality of the Dutch city is reinvented in Havenkwartier.

Client: Municipality of Rijswijk Size: 20,5 ha Duration: 2017-2019 Status: in progress Design team: Pim Heikoop (project leader), Dylan van Wel, Anne Zekveld, Cecilia Bandera, Federica Francalancia, Monika Michalska, Hugo Plat