Housing cooperative W1555






Woonstad Rotterdam

Circular transformation of a pre-war building into a 46-unit housing cooperative.

The block was squatted in 2004 by a group of young artists. The new residents united as the NAC Foundation. Together with the property owner dNU, later Woonstad, and the foundation, a recovery and management plan was drawn up for a period of 10 years. During this time, the foundation contributed to the liveability of the neighbourhood with residents and their activities. In 2015, the first discussions about a sustainable transformation of the housing block began. A new residents’ association, W1555, was established for this purpose.

Through co-creation between Superuse, the residents and Woonstad, a design and renovation plan was made for 46 homes and 6 communal spaces; studio, workshop space, and kitchen. The typology has changed from pre-war flats to gallery flats. This enabled to address several problems at once. The balconies facing the garden were in poor condition and by placing a gallery, new large balconies are now creating an efficient access. At the same time, this intervention ensures more daylight in the houses, fewer porches and more flats.

By preserving the existing building and adding mostly circular and bio-based materials an extremely low environmental impact was ensured.

The galleries on different levels allow for a mix of housing types. The bays can be freely partitioned and offer plenty of space for residents’ wishes. The foundation and restored structure provides higher floors and larger window openings than would have been possible with demolition and new construction.

The greatest benefit of the project, where the pre-war building did not have to make way for new build, is the fact that a majority of the former residents have grown together with the transformation to a new phase in Wolphaertstraat.


Although the initial costs were slightly higher, Woonstad opted for an appealing circular transformation.

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