On the border of Haarlem's historic city centre, a new warehouse has been built. 8-storey residential complex, De Scheepmaker, is a new addition to the Dutch skyline but is so logical that it looks as if it has been there for years. It is recognizable by its warehouse-inspired typology, stepped roofline, and vertical glass cut. The stepped terraces allow sunlight into the street and compliment the scale of the surrounding architecture. The contemporary translation of industrial brick architecture is discernible by the masonry details in the facade, a tactile feature also made interesting for passers-by up close.


The annual architecture prize is named after Haarlem's first city architect and focuses alternately on the themes of architecture, urban planning and heritage.

Winner Lieven de Keypenning 2023!

From a list of 70 projects, the professional jury nominated 10 projects, after which the complexity of the Scheepmaker's assignment was decisive. We are very happy with that: it is a wonderful recognition of the special process that we have gone through with a wonderful team of clients and designers. 

[from the jury report] The jury's choice ultimately turned to focusing on the multiple spatial issues: "We should not run away from the dilemmas of the city, but rather focus on the places where there is friction. The city needs projects that do more than one thing well, where housing, densification, and mobility come together. This needs clients and architects who dare to explore new directions and act as mediators. The jury sees these qualities reflected in De Scheepmaker. An extremely complex task was solved with an adventurous attitude and ingenuity, in which the architect saw - and seized - opportunities to improve the project on all sides. From the leap in scale over the railway and the beacon function to the enormous variety of homes."

Lessons from the construction crisis: customizable mass-production

De Scheepmaker is the latest inner-city development of this stature, appealing to its urban location because of the variety and uniqueness of the 55 dwellings – ranging from starter’s apartments to luxury penthouses. Despite being mass-produced, each house feels as though it is tailor-made. "We see mass-produced customization as the solution for the future" says architect Joeri van Ommeren. This is a lesson that vanOmmeren architecten learned from the construction crisis. VOA believes that every resident is entitled to a home that fits like a tailor-made suit.

Scheepmaker Website foto template6

Facilitating personalization

In addition to the variety in floor plans, the design includes reasons for the resident to adapt the apartment to their own wishes. A thicker window frame is the place where, in time, a wall could be placed for children's room, or a daylit corner becomes an attractive seat for reading. Ground-level maisonettes boast 5 meter high ceilings, providing an opportunity for mezzanine living. It facilitates customization, and it is up to the user to do it their own way. At VOA we call this ‘Design for Affinity’, in which residents are active participants in adapting their home to their desires.

“Het architectenbureau kenmerkt zich door het ontwerpen van woningplattegronden waarbij de beleving van de bewoner het uitgangspunt is. Positiviteit, voortdurende innovatie en transparantie zijn voor Van Ommeren Architecten belangrijke pijlers in het ontwerpproces. Het resultaat is een ontwerp dat een passend antwoord is op de locatie. Vaak krijgen we de opmerking dat men het idee heeft dat een van onze gebouwen of woningen er al veel langer staan.”

Vreugdefotografie VF 3785 preview

Ernest van der Meijde (wibaut project development), client



Joeri van Ommeren, Tsveta Ruseva, Dion Nupoort, Menno van der Hoeven, Laura van Beek
Heddes bouw en ontwikkeling, Hosper/Mark van der Heide, Pieters Bouwtechniek, VIAC
Eva Bloem
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