De vliesgevel in the Netherlands between construction and representation. Past and present-day experiences in social housing

The crisis of the contemporary urban landscape (meant to convey cultural and social values) is evidenced by the upsurge of self-referential architectural artifacts whose ephemeral features manifest how unsuitable their project-based approach is since it tries to attain spectacular architectural shapes even when dealing with housing. This alarming trend is also present in the Netherlands, even if a relevant tradition regarding the construction of urban spaces by means of façade-prospects is present there.
The lack of regard for the cultural and social values of residential collective housing is evidenced nowadays by the ephemeral façades of many Dutch quarters, where the values of traditional collective housing seem to have been lost. In this way, the all-encompassing feature of globalization gets confirmed: identical buildings appear in different cities and places.
This work focuses on project-based experiences of social housing implemented in some meaningful periods in the development of Dutch housing culture. Such projects are deeply rooted in their sites, and though they do not neglect to produce buildings that meet contemporary requirements, they keep the connections, ensuring continuity with the shapes and construction traditions of the past. In particular, the features of façades – thanks to their formal and construction-related developments – clearly manifest the choice to regard the project as a well-devised blend of past, present, and future.
This work relates the results of broader research regarding the urban role of residential collective buildings within the landscape of Dutch architectural culture in the early XX century.