Contest | Housing



Europan 12


Assen - Netherlands

Design by

hiddenoffice | Timothy D. Brownlee

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ASSEnBLY means the realization of your new needs. It creates a new ecosystem in which dimensions have a human scale in a district that reduces distances offering you not just the purchase of new house, but the achievement of a new way of life. Living in ASSEnBLY will mean starting to use what you simply admired before. Here natural and artificial assemble together, because natural elements are mixed into the living fabric of the town.

ASSEnBLY puts your individual needs and your social dimensions together so as to reduce the urban scale and create a community. This is ASSEnBLY


ASSEnBLY is a multiple choice, a collection of many possibilities, the opportunity of changing over time. It represents the end of traditional urban planning: outdoor and indoor spaces can have a wide variety without having to struggle with an over-regulated urban planning burocracy. It can be the new way of transforming the city, abiding by the quality of development.

ASSEnBLY is the answer to business uncertainties and to the increasing need of space flexibility: thanks to a “functional floating plate” Havenkwartier’s surface will be under a gradual layering, with the intent to double the public space. This place is also used for the public green and for private and semi-private gardens.  The urban and floating Landmark ensures streams of bicycles, boats, car and people without their colliding.

Private homes and professional/management activities can finally hybridize among them maintaining an easy access to the public and semi-public spaces.

The green floating plate could also be the the instrument to transform all of those nearby structures that are next to closure. For example the existing industrial buildings could be covered with the green landmark plate and with new houses allowing the re-use of these structures. The former industrial shells, placed on the ground level of the new structure will accomodate coworking offices, indoor sports facilities, social activities, stores or public spaces.


ASSEnBLY is a customizable, adaptable, exportable, repeatable, contextualizable model.

For example, the Havenkwartier (the area around the harbor) model is placed between the mainland and the water, accessible from both land or water.

You can arrive at ASSEnBLY by boat, car, bike, bus or by foot. 

Actually the model can adapt to the different type of soil where it will be built. 

Even the shape and  the dimension of the house-modules can be changed according to climate and context conditions or to the availability of building materials.

The district could be bigger or smaller, according to the growing needs of the city in which it will be placed.

With ASSEnBLY, housing is no longer only a question of building dwellings, but it has become an experiment on new ways of living in the contemporary city. 

You might decide to buy a common house or try new hybrid forms of living, including new functions that are traditionally considered separated from your home.

In ASSEnBLY, no matter what your job is or will be, you will find a home capable of changing with you during your lifetime. 

You could work in your house in direct contact with a growing community. Or you might as well decide to work in a co-working office center sharing your skills and experiences with others. You might be interested in producing concretely your own vegetables in your own garden, or you might as well produce vegetables with your neighbors. In ASSEnBLY you can share and team up with your neighbors, enabling you to achieve a better quality of living, reducing dependence on external providers.

In ASSEnBLY, whoever wants to, can contribute in an active and responsible way to the energetic and food production, going towards the “self-sustaining”. The new urban structure will improve social and working relationships, providing new ways of sharing collective spaces and using the district in multiple ways.

These are some of the mixed-up functions you can find in ASSEN-bly:

1.Living and working 

These are dwellings that include an office or a little shop at the ground level;

2.Living and co-working  

The dwelling is separated from a common co-working office that has its own restrooms;

3.Sleeping and co-living 

The dwelling is composed principally of sleeping functions that communicate with a co-eating / co-living area with a big kitchen / living room and bathrooms;

4.Living and gardening

All types of dwellings can have a private garden;

5.Living and co-gardening

Dwellings might include a co-gardening system to use with neighbors.

All of the dwellings can also have a mix of all of these different functions or just some of them, according to one's needs.

The spaces used for co-working, co-living and co-eating can be considered as semi-public spaces. Only the inhabitants and the frequenters of ASSEnBLY can use these facilities. 

These places are considered flexible in time and in functions. They might as well accommodate one type of function during the day an another one during the evening. Throughout the day they could host conferences, movies screening, small theater performaces, open space offices, indoor sport facilities,etc. In case of need, these spaces can be transformed into regular dwellings or regular stores. 


ASSEnBLY arises from a 6m per 6m grid through elementary modules assembled .

These modules respond to the different needs of space and to the different types of functional needs that users might have.

The houses have an external shell that is fixed while the internal disposition can be easily changed or adapted.

Assembling two or more modules together you have a bigger building with many different kinds of shapes: tall building or small ones can be assembled, according to needs and building regulations. 

As in the case of ASSEnBLY the union of modules can lead towards a linear building or towards a “spreading building”.

The modules of the “spreading building” have their entrances at the ground level, some of them on the first level, near the co-gardening systems.The linear buildings have an entrance at ground level or onto the rear gallery, placed on the north side of the building.

ASSEnBLY is an unexpected and surprising district with an incredible variety of houses. Everyone will be able to build his/her own house according to his/her own taste choosing from an “abacus” of customizable elements: external finishing, type of roof, flat typology, type of garden, type of vehicle to be parked, type of working facility. 

ASSEnBLY is configured according to the different lifestyles of the people who live in the neighborhood.

The abacus of customizable elements and the many possibilities of assembly of the various modules will lead to a controlled planning that will reduce bureaucracy and will simplify over regulated urban planning modes.

These rules can be reduced thanks to this district model and the quality of the development can be improved.


With this smartphone application you’ll be able to imagine your future home. You can draw, modify and assemble it according to your own expectations and through your own emotions. Save your favorite houses and build your very best choice.


ASSEnBLY has a smart vacuum system that manages waste and recyclable materials (such as paper, plastic, organic and unsorted garbage). The old common trash cans are replaced with a more efficient technology that eliminates the typical problems that have to do with unpleasant smells, decorum, and a complex management system.

This vacuum system is tested and it works easily thanks to underground pipes that interface in the inside of the houses and on the outside via apparently ordinary cans. The pipes are installed during the construction of the buildings.

A collecting station manages the pick-up of the waste that travels in the underground network at a 70 km per hour speed. The interface has different “holes” according to the type of waste (paper, organic,…).

This collecting system can be a long term investment and it can easily be extended to other parts of the nearby city.

Using the vacuum waste system the district gains many different benefits. A strongly reduced truck traffic means less pollution, healthier and safer environment for the inhabitants. It also means fewer people working on the waste system and a better urban décor .

ASSEnBLY can be considered a real urban ecosystem, not only thanks to the waste pick-up system but also because the waste can be transformed into a resource to be used in the district.

The “waste station” transforms the biological waste into compost to be used in the activities of the ASSEnBLY gardening.

The organic waste is stored in a sector of the station where the material is carried directly from the underground pipes.  During storage, while the compost is forming, gas can be extracted to be used for the heating of the dwellings. 

Rainwater recovery and domestic water recovery systems are used to irrigate ASSEnBLY’s gardens and trees. The system works thanks to an electrolytic purification process, installed in a collecting tank under the ground level.  Water can also be used to heat and cool the dwellings during the year. Geothermal heat pumps pick up the water from the canal, which has a constant range of temperatures,  ensuring an efficient generating system all year long.