Our future goes to the past. In a world where we try to make agreements to save the world of less CO2 production, we go back to the past. In the last decades, we designed our cities in relation to the industries which produce it the most. Result of this, the distance of the house and work became larger. So we produced more and became wealthier and again produced more. To avoid the noise and pollution people tend to go to the outer skirt of the city. Bringing services to scattered livings brings amounts of financial worries with it. How can we use architecture to densify existing urban tissue in Western Europe?
In the past, there were fortified cities. Citizens made their homes between the walls in order to stay safe. This way of living with a high density brings also complexities. How to have privacy, green, and air for the residence? The courtyard typology gave solutions to these problems. Cities were built on this principle and got a high density. People could combine work and live on the same spot.
The future city is also “walled”. Skyscrapers are made in the city center. Most of the designs try to make a vertical city. In order to provide basic human needs as green, air, and light. But is this the correct way of building the future? Is there no other possibility of getting high density and keeping people on the ground?
In Ghent (Belgium) near the old inner-city center a comparable neighborhood is situated, de Ham. The outer skirt of the plot is residential, sometimes mixed with retail, and in the center there is an industrial building. The companies privatize these spaces and blockades potential for high-density living, green space, and low-rise buildings with green public space.
The shed-roofed industrial building will be opened and used as a public space. Around this open space, apartments will be located. To keep the privacy of the existing houses new buildings will concentrate on the inner courtyard. By providing light, air, green, and privacy with the courtyard streets can be smaller and more crowded to interact with people.