The project consists of two building blocks and has become part of the Meelfabriek compound. This former, vast industrial compound will be reused for apartments and a hotel. The project follows the contours according to the masterplan drafted by architect Peter Zumthor. The two building blocks are an addition to the existing Meelfabriek and is situated alongside the premises of the old city centre of Leiden. The open space between the new buildings and the existing factory will be turned into a public park. The two building blocks are connected by a gangway.
The project is positioned next to the city moat and a public park. Therefore, the architecture is omnidirectional, meaning there is no clear front or back to the building blocks. All apartments are orientated based in light of this. In the larger building, this is made possible by combining a corridor through the centre of the building with the maisonette type, allowing the facades to be incorporated optimally. This corridor is two floors in height and due to natural light coming in from light shafts, the spatial qualities of the building are warranted for. The smaller building has a gallery entrance behind the façade and ground floor apartments .All the maisonette type and ground floor apartments are developed for housing students in their master phase of their studies. The initial concept is to house two students per maisonette or apartment who then have their own room and a common living area, kitchen, bathroom, and toilet. However, it is possible to adapt the layout in order to house three students having three equivalent rooms per apartment. All apartments and maisonettes come with a loggia and all windows are executed as a French balcony. Furthermore, all apartments are accessible for disabled people and are fully adjustable. In total, the project entails 55 apartments, of which 28 maisonette type ( 88 m2) and 27 ground floor apartments ( 74 m2).
As one of the motivations is to connect to the utilitarian Meelfabriek optimally, the project is conducted on the principles of minimalistic architecture. The choice for using bricks was chosen to connect both the existing Meelfabriek and the old city centre. The structure of the facade has a continuing pattern of equal openings containing deep nudes, giving the facade a rhythmic and expressive appearance. The buildings are visually interesting, as the view differentiates based on the position of the beholder and the sun. The continuous pattern of the facades is followed through in the end facades as wall cabinets. All different facades have been given equal treatment. In order to differentiate the buildings further and to add additional industrial components to enhance the connection, several elements have been added in corten steel. This can be found in the fencing, the gangway between the buildings, and the dials of the end facade.
In order to strengthen the relationship between the old and the new, the choice of bricks has been decided on by comparing present material to the bricks used in the former office block of the Meelfabriek. This resulted in the choice for Hagemeister wire stone, type Rostock in standard format and stretcher bond.
After graduating with distinction from Delft University of Technology, Jan Splinter wand a university friend set up an architectural practice in 1983, which became his own firm in 1988: Splinter Architecten BV. The practice expanded in the early 1990s after delivering the well-known award-winning residential building on Morsweg in Leiden, and established an extensive portfolio in the years that followed. Besides special buildings, more than 3,000 homes have been built throughout the Netherlands. Splinter also works in the international market: for example, on an ecopark in London, built as a model of eco-living in the British residential construction sector. In 2008 he received the Spatial Quality Award from the Dutch province of South Holland. In his work he strives for clarity and precision, taking as his credo: ‘Simplicity is beautiful because it is authentic’. Splinter designed the DUWO buildings for De Meelfabriek