The new Rijnveste complex is a special addition to Idealis's range of housing options. Its small scale and the possibility of sharing a unit with friends gives Rijnveste the feel of a village.
Family home / The outer ring of Rijnveste consists largely of student houses with four to six bedrooms, a communal room, kitchen and a small outdoor area. Reminding you of? Exactly, a family home. 'We are building with the next 50 years in mind,' explains Idealis. 'Student numbers could go down in that time. Then you could quite easily convert the complex for use by other target groups.' This makes Rijnveste relatively expensive, at between 310 and 350 euros per room. Is that handy at a time when student grants are being scrapped? 'According to our research there is a clear demand for this category of rooms,' says Bart van As of Idealis. 'It was somewhat lacking in our repertoire. What is more, the price is extraordinary reasonable if you look at similar rooms in the big cities.'
All mixed up / The complex includes 64 self-contained rooms 272 rooms with shared facilities and 9 apartments. This way Rijnveste can cater for all types of student - which is the whole idea. It is Idealis's aim to be working with a new model by 2016: one in which Bachelor's, Master's and PhD students of all nationalities are all mixed up together. Rijnveste is a pilot project in this respect. There are already 39 foreign students living in amongst the Dutch students.
Sustainable / You shouldn't leave sustainability to user behaviour, says Bart van As. 'Students are just not in the right stage of life to be disciplined about turning off radiators and lights.' So systems are installed that do not depend on collaboration: movement sensors, for instance, or led lights, water-saving taps and solar boilers to provide hot water. There is a wind turbine on the roof which should provide enough electricity for the public lighting. All this sustainability benefits the residents too: they pay 70 euros in service costs as opposed to 100 in the star flats.
Bike-friendly / The design of the Rijnveste includes a special place for every student's holy cow: the bike. There are four bike racks for every three students. The extra one is for visitors and also to allow for the familiar phenomenon of 'ghost bikes': the old crocks that turn out after months to have come from nowhere and belong to no one. The bike racks are less than five metres from the front door. 'Otherwise informal parking places get created closer to the entrance,' says Van As. The cyclist's convenience has been taken into consideration too: a few metres from the entrance there is a pole with a knob for opening the front door. No more fiddling around with an ill-fitting key.
Fortress / The plan of the new complex is based on a fortress, explains architect Reinier Ubels. The outside looks massive and imposing and has its own 'moat'. On the inside there is an accessible square with light colours and a far less formal style. Whereas geometric shapes dominate the outside, on the inner square even the street and the parking places are organic in shape. The gardens are side by side and border the common inner area. This gives it the feel of a village.
Pergolas / The pergolas are made of untreated oak. This fits with the fortress idea and is also fairly indestructible, says Ubels. 'You can lean bikes against it or sit on it in a group. The wood can withstand that and its appearance only improves.'
Bricks / The brick on the outside comes from antique coal-fired ovens from which every brick comes out a different shape and colour.
Moat / The moat is fed by rainwater from the site and the buildings. Better for the groundwater levels and ecologically sound.
With thanks to Idealis (Corina van Dijk and Bart van As) and MIX architecture (Reinier Ubels and Joop van Brummelen)