The Regulateur is located in the Gruno neighbourhood, which has been under redevelopment for the last two decades. Here De Zwarte Hond is responsible for the urban development plan, as well as the design of two residential blocks, the Typhoon and Tractie. Housing corporation Nijestee, architectural firm De Zwarte Hond, and contractor Trebbe joined forces in 2016 to renew existing construction, design, and development processes. Here it became important that every aspect is transparent to all parties, so good ideas don’t get lost and necessary adjustments can be made in a timely manner. With this renewed process in mind, the Regulateur project represents high-quality, affordable housing in an attractive and inclusive neighbourhood.
The Regulateur was built specifically to provide comfortable, green, and affordable living in an urban environment. The layered structure accommodates a broad target group, with 79 social housing apartments, and 26 middle-rent apartments. The first floor also contains room for commercial spaces as well as a shared bicycle shed. Its inner courtyard consists of a beautiful green garden, which was designed as a place for residents to spend time and meet each other. A bioswale was included to foster good water management, and the rooftop features a green sedum roof, combined with solar panels, and high-quality insulation. As such, in line with requirements of Warmtestad Groningen, The Regulateur is a sustainable residential building.
The Regulateur’s rhythmic façade with decorative openings repeats itself around the block and includes loggia accents at each corner. The brick façade has a cutting joint that creates an interesting block pattern and emphasizes the fading pattern of the façade. The frames around the windows are made of a standard 100 mm depth brick, with recessed areas containing bricks of mm depth. This not only produces a rich façade but also saves a substantial amount of material for the construction. The upper levels of the building receive more natural light and have broader views, which is reflected in the façade patterns as the bottom levels of the building contain wider windows, which become increasingly narrow towards the top. Additionally, the generous floor heights on the first floor allow for social or commercial functions to enrich the neighbourhood at each corner of the building. The residents' parking spaces will be located elsewhere in the neighbourhood in a parking house, which has left space for the courtyard garden around which residences will be centred. The outdoor spaces of most of the homes face towards this courtyard, which represents a quiet green oasis where neighbours can get together and have a chat. The spacious entrances also provide direct access to the courtyard garden as well as the communal bicycle storage. In addition to the greenery in the courtyard garden, on the inside of the building the greenery will also grow up along the facades.
"We are enormously proud of this building, where everything that we at Nijestee stand for comes together, namely: high-quality housing, beautiful environments, meeting places, and sustainability. This ensures that our tenants can live comfortably. Thanks to the intensive long-term cooperation with architects De Zwarte Hond and contractor Trebbe, in which we keep challenging each other to become even better at delivering very high quality for affordable prices."– Nijestee director Jan Jaap Vogel
De Zwarte Hond is a design agency for architecture, urban design, and strategy, with offices in Groningen, Rotterdam, and Cologne. Through a combination of social commitment and craftsmanship, the firm creates high-quality projects that are sensitive to their context, the needs of users, and the vision of the customer.