• Benjamin Mann

EVA Lanxmeer eco-district - Culemborg, Netherlands

The Eva Lanxmeer eco-district provides housing for 1,200 people in a peri-urban setting where green spaces are very present.


Marleen Kaptein, architect, began in the 1980s to reflect on a mode of residential development integrating nature instead of destroying it and giving an important role to future residents in the design of their homes. Kaptein wanted to achieve an exemplary residential development for the Netherlands. It would integrate at least 200 housing units in order to be economically viable and to have a substantial impact on the city in which it would be integrated. In 1995, the association EVA ("Ecologisch Centrum voor Educatie, Voorlichting en Advies" - Ecological Center for Education, Information and Advice) was formed in order to find spaces in which to build such a district. The municipality of Culembourg, about twenty kilometers south-east of Utrecht, was planning several residential developments and was interested in the EVA project.

Specificity of the urban concept:

- A district organized in micro-places. About twenty buildings are concentrated around a central shared garden. This micro-community of around fifty people allows people to know their neighbors well.

- A neighborhood closed to cars. Numerous pedestrian and cycle paths provide easy access to different parts of the district.

- Buildings constructed with high energy standards and with ecological materials - wood frame for many buildings.

- Social diversity - 30% of social housing for rent or purchase.

Image aérienne montrant l'organisation résidentielle autour de jardins partagés

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At EVA Lanxmeer, I stayed at Dick and Sandra's, who live in the neighbourhood since the early 2000's. It was the opportunity to visit the neighbourhood and its original architecture with connoisseurs.

Peripheral parking lot. Solar pannels were added a few years ago.

Building integration within the natural landscape

One architecture that particularly struck me: greenhouse-homes, with a double shield in glass

Other view for a greenhouse home

This building was built entirely through self-build. It now houses a primary school

A bit of a futuristic home

Urban jungle

One of several original vehicles you can find in EVA Lanxmeer

Interior of one of the neighborhood's homes

Micro apartment buildings around a central shared patio. Each building is four storeys and is shared in two family homes

Urban farm close to the neighbourhood

Farm produce

Greenhouses - the farm also serves as an insertion activity for disabled people

A kindergaten in the center of the farm - here's the napping place for children! Apparently coming from Sweden...

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