More than a hundred years ago, the Haarlem slaughterhouse was built as an enclave, situated outside the city, for health reasons. Over time, the process of slaughtering industrialised, resulting in higher hygiene. This allowed the city to form around the slaughterhouse: the Slachthuisbuurt. In the new plan for the Slachthuisdistrict, the former cordon sanitaire is given the role of green hem: the entrance to the residential area. Monuments are given a public, activating role; historical qualities are emphasised and housing is created like nowhere else.

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"It is a great honour and responsibility to design a new public space. A great deal of effort has been put into an integrated design in which the monuments (Hans van Heeswijk), the public space ([ZUS] Zones Urbaines Sensibles) and the 162 houses(vanOmmeren architects) are formed to create a new neighbourhood. A neighbourhood with culture, sustainability and climate adaptability as a driver for pleasant, urban life: unique in Haarlem."

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Joeri van Ommeren, architect

a layered plan

a layered plan

The slaughterhouse is at the centre of Slaughterhouse Square. This forms the heart of the area. A 400-metre-long pergola with an open linear gutter defines the square and establishes the connection with new housing behind it. The pergola feels like a colonnade; it makes the difference between private and public space readable and organises the urban space. Historic and new entrances pierce through the park-like green hem and tie the Slaughterhouse District to its surroundings.

Living on the Slachthuisterrein

The Slachthuisterrein is a place where living, working and playing in a climate-adaptive surrounding plays a central role, for humans and animals. The neighbourhood is designed in a sustainable way, with special attention to the storage of water, counteracting heat stress, and housing insects, birds and mammals. The choice of plant species takes the protection and nutrition of the intended fauna into account.

Vegetation and water structures as sustainable foundation of the neighbourhood

The sustainable foundation for the Slaughterhouse District is formed by green and blue structures. These include: front gardens, margin strips with vegetation, public gardens and play areas. These places contribute to clean air, combat heat stress, increase water storage capacity and maintain biodiversity.

An integrated water system ensures that rainwater can infiltrate, be retained, utilised and disposed of when necessary. Other sustainable interventions in the area include the use of solar panels, heat and cold storage and, for example, facilitating shared cars and cargo bikes.

Contemporary connection with the monument

Interventions to the historic buildings reveal the history of 100 years of slaughterhouses as completely as possible. In the new Slachthuis District, the monuments fulfil a public, activating role with space for creative businesses and catering establishments. The main building will be a cultural building with music as its carrier: Slachthuis Haarlem, run by Patronaat and Hart Haarlem.

The modest architecture of the residential buildings matches the brick architecture of the Slachthuis. The pronounced and rhythmic pilasters reinforce both the collective identity of the residential blocks and an ode to the refined details of the Slachthuis monument.

Architecture: an ensemble of residential buildings

The composition of six new residential buildings frames the monumental slaughterhouse. These buildings are a fusion of recognizable typologies that are (or were) present in the surrounding area. The proposed residential buildings are composed of different three- and four-layer volumes with a shed roof. They behave as all-sided buildings that together define the domain around the Slaughterhouse. The houses on the ground level border to the urban collective space. On the raised deck, collective outdoor space is proposed with a more playful and intimate character. This contrast results in a unique neighbourhood. 

The urban rowhouse reinvented

The urban rowhouse re-invented

Within the apparent row houses, a diverse range of living forms will be realized. The houses are a 21st-century successor of Haarlem’s traditional ‘rood-, zwart-woning’, creating housing for a broad target group, resulting in an inclusive neighborhood. The houses are small and large, to buy or to rent, for young and old.

Started immediately

Immediately after being awarded, the area was opened to the public as originally planned. Together with artists and musicians, the area was put on the map under the leadership of Martijn de Kruyver. Among other things, the Slachthuis has been used as a haunted house, stage for artists and was even the battleground for a tricycle race for toddlers. The musicians and artists from the first hour are still involved in Slachthuis Haarlem, which has since been put into operation.


Joeri van Ommeren, Fallon Walton, Bob Spitz, Dion Nupoort, Tea Perko, Filip Vusic, [ZUS] Zones Urbaines Sensibles, Hans van Heeswijk
.Cie Assist, LBP Sight, Valstar Simonis, Harder, Advier, Metabolic, Markus BV
De Nijs en Zonen
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under construction
completion expected in 2025