The Haarlem Slaughterhouse has traditionally been situated outside the city, surrounded by a sanitary buffer. Meanwhile, a residential area has formed around the terrain. After years of vacancy, resulting in decay of the building, the Slaughterhouse will be given a second life as a multi-use cultural building with a pop school as its centre. Existing routes through the area are revived, and the square around the Slaughterhouse will be publicly accessible. The public square is defined by a pergola, demarcating the public zone with the new surrounding residential buildings. 

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. 

Joeri van Ommeren  photo by Yuki Kho

Joeri van Ommeren (architect)

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.

The modest architecture of the residential buildings reflects a contemporary connection with the brick architecture of the Slaughterhouse. The pronounced and rhythmic pilasters both strengthens the collective identity of the housing blocks, as well as acting as an ode to the refined details of the Slaughterhouse monument. 

A shared neighbourhood


All residential buildings are bordered by a lively green vegetative margin zone, contributing to the identity of the architecture. This intermediary domain is the space where neighbours interact and offer subtle possibilities for the residents to express themselves. Rainwater on the roof is directed to the vegetative margin zone and stored in the water collection system of the Slachthuishof. 

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.