• Year: 2009 - till now
  • Location: Leewarden NL
  • Client: City administration
  • Partner: David Koezen

The Block is an ongoing research led by Alexander Sverdlov and David Koezen. The research aims at development of modern housing types actively engaging both the community of people and the landscape.

How a housing project could introduce the new dimensions of sustainability? How the housing market could address the wishes of the individuals in a better way? How to balance the individual and the collective, the public and the private? 
In this project living on the water, leisure lifestyle and diverse ecologies come together to form a proposition for the new type of community.

The project is positioned between the city and the (yet) open land. Facing the future extension of the city, the Block introduces new relationships between the urban structure and the landscape, the one going beyond the guilt of urbanization. The Block takes the usual ingredients of a suburbia, with its low density, individual plots and free-standing houses, and frames them into a perimetral block.

The extended partition walls become the tools for separation and/or engagement. Furthermore, the partition walls define highly individualised plots. The proportion of soil and water, the outreach of each plot and its specific flora are in the hands of the dwellers themselves…


On top of the canopy housing there are solar panels. It is used as to provide electricity for the housing and if there is excess energy feed it back to the net. The block thus uses less electricity.


Spanning all of the plots in one go, The Canopy rests on
The Walls and contains most of the housing program area on the second level. Therefore, in case of each individual parcel it frames the ground level access as a portal towards the landscape on the inside of the block. The car or the boat could be sheltered under the canopy making entrance
of the house.


Giving attention to the diversity of modern lifestyles,
of which not all could be foreseen, the project anticipates highly specific house extensions. The extra rooms join the Canopy in various ways. Would it be the extra bedroom, home cinema, garage or the workshop, they introduce a micro grain to the whole block. Visible from the outside, the extensions become yet another representation of the individual.


In the traditional city the firewall separated the buildings while allowing for density as they could join together. In the Interior Arcadia the firewall (waterwall) has more functions. Not only it separates the individual addresses but also makes the very carcass of each house. Going deep down into the Dutch soil, The Wall, minimizes the actual footprint of the house. Anchored at the perimeter of the block, and cutting a section of the land or water The Walls define the envelope for the individual ecology.


The interior Arcadia uses a water system that is entirely autarchic. The system starts with the retriieval of sufrace water of an existing water body in the neighborhood like a river, lake, wetlands, and so on. It purifies the water in a large orchard / vegetable / botanical garden outside of the block. The different ecologies within the block are being fed by the nutrient rich waters that were filtered by the gardens. Ecological life could sprawl under mint conditions. From there on the water (after a series of small filters) is being used as daily water for the inhabitants of the block, even drinking water. Compost toilets are used to prevent the mixing of grey and black water systems. The compost of the toilets can be used in the garden as vertilizer. After use the grey water is filtered by an external helophyte filter and released into the surface water of the surrounding area. The Interior Arcadia does not only serve itself but serves the net with electricity, produces food in it’s gardens and purifies water for it’s surrounding area.

Consequently, landscape becomes a function of multiple, ever changing microecologies. The block turns into an urban device that intensifies and reproduces landscape instead of
consuming it.