The post-war neighborhood Gruno in Groningen is experiencing significant development and transformation. The large-scale neighborhood renewal includes a new urban plan for a completely new neighborhood that meets today’s requirements, with nice, light, sustainable homes for everyone. The recently completed residential building Regulateur is the sixth block in the renovated neighborhood for which Felixx designed the collective courtyard.
The Gruno district is within walking distance of the train station, between the liveliness of the city center and the green public park. With its diverse housing types, a variety of residents, and homes featuring street-facing front doors, the neighborhood maintains a vibrant and lively atmosphere. De Regulateur, designed by De Zwarte Hond, is an energy-efficient, compact residential building with 105 apartments, including 79 social rental homes and 26 mid-market rental homes, around a spacious courtyard. It typologically builds on the tradition of Groningen almshouses and responds to the question of how you can live in an urban environment in a green way.
Collective green oasis
The courtyard of the Regulateur is a collective green oasis that has been designed in a climate-adaptive and maintenance-friendly way. Because parking has been solved centrally in the neighborhood in a parking house, space for greenery and social encounters could be realized in the inner garden. In line with a future-proof courtyard, various climate-adaptive measures have been included in the design, such as delayed rainwater drainage, wadis and a wide variety of planting in different layers.
The wide entrances provide direct access to the courtyard and the communal bicycle shed. All housing types have private outdoor areas facing inward, fostering a sense of community “around the garden.” This peaceful and green oasis fosters neighborly interactions, providing ample opportunities for pleasant conversations. The garden’s thoughtfully designed landscape includes a mix of shell paths, a captivating main pathway with a bridge, stepping stones, various seating elements, and lush plantings, making it a welcoming green haven for residents and visitors alike.
Typical of the inner garden layout is that it consists of several layers and terrain heights. The garden has a flowery layer of grass, perennials at various heights, bushes, shrubs, trees and climbing plants. The undergrowth forms an attractive, dense cover of diverse leaf structures and natural-looking colors and blooms throughout the year. The ascending blooming accent layer creates a play between high and low, private and collective. It guides the eye of the resident through beautiful colors and structures while also offering space and privacy for the terraces on the outside. In addition to the middle layer, trees create volume that separates private gardens from the collective courtyard.
All plant species were carefully selected to endure wet and shady conditions based on insights from an insolation study and water storage analysis specific to this Groningen courtyard.