Orange Architects and Felixx Landscape Architects & Planners unveil the integral architectural and landscape sketch design to create an inclusive and sustainable residential community, located in Bloemendaal, between the coast and Haarlem, surrounded by dunes and forests. The project is situated on the site of the former Euphrasia monastery and nursing home on Dennenheuvel Estate, which recently housed status holders, refugees and economically homeless people. With diverse housing options, a focus on inclusivity, and plenty of communal facilities, a new design blends into the local neighbourhood. Commissioned by Euphrasia Monastery and after a carefully completed participation process, the sketch design serves as a basis for further development of Dennenheuvel estate.


Historically, this coastal area has been served as a site for private estates and a place for leisurely walks through the surrounding dunes and forests. Traces of this historical legacy include the original tree-lined avenues and well-established forest pathways. Dennenheuvel Estate comprises a forest near the former monastery, Villa de Terp, and an allotment garden complex on the edge of the estate. Adjacent to it are the Sint Theresia Primary School and the St. Adelbert Catholic Cemetery, adding layers of richness to the use of the estate. Dennenheuvel Estate holds the distinction of being part of a protected Natura 2000 area, underscoring its ecological importance and commitment to environmental preservation. The landscaping, designed by Felixx landscape architects & planners, accentuates the estate’s inherent character and recreational values. The primary goal is to seamlessly integrate new pathways with existing landscape.


The architectural model of the monastery and its spatial organization served as inspiration for the new design. Various monastery types were studied, ranging from classical to contemporary, with a specific focus on the Euphrasia Monastery. The monastery typology consists of a group of buildings organized around a courtyard, emphasizing a strong collective component. Typically, a communal space near the entrance facilitates gatherings for both residents and visitors. In monasteries, functions are arranged in a gradient, with more open and accessible areas in the public spaces of the building and quieter programmes in the private spaces. An architectural element essential to the classical monastery is the cloister corridor, encircling the courtyard and connecting these spaces and functions. These fundamental elements integral to classical monasteries will be translated into the new design.


The sketch design for Dennenheuvel draws inspiration from the monastery typology, interpreting it to create a communal focal point akin to the monastery garth. This large courtyard serves as a collective space, encouraging social interaction and outdoor activities among the residents. Functions surrounding the courtyard are strategically arranged, with public and collective spaces facing the street and private areas oriented towards the forest. The landscape concept emphasizes a deliberate distinction between cultivated green spaces within the courtyards and the natural greenery outside, represented by the adjacent forest. The architectural design is sensitive to the natural surroundings, ensuring the development is not a closed-off block. Openings strategically positioned between the buildings offer residents panoramic views of the surrounding forest.


The redevelopment of the Dennenheuvel estate aims to maintain qualities of former monastery as well as create a sustainable living environment within the natural beauty of the dunes forest.

The new design introduces three main squares with distinct identities. The forecourt, more formal, serves as an entrance ‘foyer’. The second square, located between the school playground and the collective living room, is designed as a local ‘village square’. Envisioned as a dynamic area, this space encourages residents and neighbours to come together for social interaction, perhaps over a cup of coffee. The third square is a more private and contemplative space, reminiscent of a monastery garth, providing residents with a tranquil environment for relaxation and social interaction. The architectural concept for the project draws inspiration from the serene ambiance of the white villas and estates in the countryside of the municipality of Bloemendaal. The buildings are designed to stand out like a collection of white objects nestled within the forest, creating a harmonious blend with the natural surroundings.

The plan encompasses 88 residential units, underground car and bicycle parking, and a diverse array of collective facilities. The housing programme offers a variety of typologies, with one-third allocated to the subsidized-rental sector, including 8 of the 16 units designated for the care organization ‘De Arkgemeenschap’. The remaining units comprise a mix of apartments available for rent and sale, along with single-family houses. The majority of the apartments will benefit from daylight from two opposite sides, providing views and connections to both the collective courtyard and the beautiful forest.

The design places a significant emphasis on the social aspect, evident in the incorporation of various communal facilities. These facilities cater to a spectrum of needs, ranging from publicly accessible spaces at the front of the plot, such as a collective living room, to more private amenities tailored to the residents of Dennenheuvel. Private facilities include a library/study room and a dedicated yoga space, contributing to overall well-being.

In Dennenheuvel the vast variety of housing types, mixture of residents and a plenty of communal facilities create a vibrant and inclusive neighborhood.

Within the spaces between the buildings, enveloped by the wooden cloister, intimate patios emerge, each with distinctive features and characters. These small outdoor spaces serve as private sanctuaries, enhancing the overall experience of the residents. The various patios showcase diverse elements, including lush forest foliage, sandy dunes, cascading water features, and connections to the adjacent ‘village square’, each contributing to a unique and tailored ambiance.

The architectural expression of the building facades is characterized by a sense of calm, serenity and simplicity, reflecting a cohesive family of structures with subtle individual nuances. Primary materials include white-cemented circular brick, with a simple yet detailed pattern. Wooden window frames and doors are employed to enhance the tranquillity of the facades, introducing a warm and natural element that complements the subdued tones of the white brick. This material selection contributes to a timeless and harmonious appearance. Conversely, the facades facing the interior courtyard are clad in wood, introducing a warm and natural element. This wooden cladding not only adds comfort to the space but also accentuates the presence of the surrounding forest. The juxtaposition of the calm, white exteriors with the vibrant, wooden-clad courtyard facades creates a balanced and inviting atmosphere, enhancing the overall architectural experience.

In Dennenheuvel, the ambitions correspond with the integral sustainability mission of Orange Architects: World We Value. Due to the special location and the proximity of the Natura 2000 area, there is a high ambition to build in the most sustainable way and to carry out the project entirely in wood. Beyond the measures related to energy, materials and biodiversity, the project places particular emphasis on social aspects. Through a varied range of housing types and collective programmes, Dennenheuvel strives to allow people of different ages, social backgrounds and possibilities to live together with each other. In addition, Dennenheuvel adds value to the context by restoring connections with surrounding estates and promoting ties with the neighbourhood. To make this possible, the involvement of local residents, stakeholders and interested parties in an open participation process is essential. The joint participation guarantees a…
Project Details
  • Site
  • Dennenheuvel, Bloemendaal
  • Client
  • Euphrasia Monastery
  • Size
  • 15.000 m2
  • Program
  • mixed-use
  • Assignment
  • pitch / selected
  • Team
  • Patrick Meijers, Jeroen Schipper, Julija Osipenko, Allard Meijer, Dirk Jansen, Victoria Tomás, Dmytro Borodin
  • Advisors
  • Felixx landscape architects & planners
  • Visuals
  • Vivid Vision