Gingko Project / Casanova + Hernandez Architects

© Christian Richters

Architects: Casanova + Hernandez Architects - Helena Casanova, Jesus Hernandez
Location: , The Netherlands
Surface: 4,100 sqm
Project Year: 2007
Photographs: Christian Richters, John Lewis Marshall, Casanova + Hernandez Architects

© Christian Richters

Ginkgo project combines art, technology and architecture to integrate a housing complex in the nature of the existing park located in front.


The project is located near the natural park of Veluwe in the Netherlands with views over an old church and the central park of the small town.

The urban structure of Beekbergen, as many other small towns of the Netherlands, is composed mainly by large single family houses that are not affordable for young people and not suitable for older people with mobility problems.

‘Ginkgo’ project explores the possibilities of providing affordable housing for different target groups thanks to a compact housing complex, physically and visually integrated in its context.

The site is an interesting space located in between two zones with very different character: the green area of the park on one side and the urban area of a post-war neighborhood built in the 50′s on the other side.

© Christian Richters

The program consists of apartments to sell, basically for starters and +65 people and park-houses to rent.


The project is based on a careful dialogue between two skins that give answer to the border conditions on both sides of the location:

1. The “Green Skin”

The transparency of the facade facing the park, the long balconies of the apartment block and the generous terraces of the park-houses integrate the dwellings visually and physically in the park.

© Christian Richters

The glazed facade has been specially designed with a print of ginkgo tree leaves of different green and yellow tones that react to the constant changing light of the sky creating very special effects, reflections, shadows and silhouettes, depending on the time of the day and the season of the year.

On one hand it brings privacy to the balconies and terraces. On the other hand it allows visual connection between the open spaces and the park.

© Christian Richters

Almost each printed panel of the facade is unique in order to avoid visual repetition creating a natural and organic continuous image of vegetation that wraps the whole facade.

The printed glazed facade works as a virtual green facade that integrates the building into the greenery of the park and reduces its physical impact in the surroundings, thus giving to the building an iconic image of lightness and immateriality.

© Christian Richters

2 The “Urban Skin”

This skin wraps the building in front of the existing urban side and relates it to its context. The use of brick gives a more massive appearance to the building on this side and helps the project to establish a dialogue with the post-war buildings in the neighborhood in terms of materialization and rhythm and size of the openings.



The apartment block is a compact building created by several concentric functional rings.


The vertical circulation core in the center of the block is surrounded by a first ring of collective circulation that gives accesses to the apartments.

The second ring concentrates all the required services of the apartments (toilets, bathrooms, kitchens, storage and installation shafts) in order to create a continuous free space in the third ring where the living areas of the house are placed.

The third ring is a flexible space that can be divided into many ways to offer different layouts for different ways of living.

© Casanova + Hernandez Architects

The housing types can vary from a spacious loft to a three-room apartment.

The fourth ring is created by the outdoor spaces of the houses, which are long panoramic balconies surrounding the apartments facing the park and individual balconies that bring random rhythm to the facade facing the urban side.

ground floor plan


The park-houses are designed with an extra large terrace in the upper level with views over the park. On ground floor the large glazed facade connects visually the living room with the park. A relatively small terrace on this level is only separated from the park by a small slope that invites the users to use the park as their own back garden.

first floor plan

The park houses are designed in a way that maximum transparency and open relation with the existing park is guaranteed. The separation between the private terrace in front of the house and the park is defined only by the pavement of the terrace, thus providing a very open relation between living room – private terrace – park.

standard plan

A semi-buried parking that covers the parking necessities for the whole complex is hidden behind a small hill that also guarantees privacy within the park houses in a natural way.

View this project in Google Maps

* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "Gingko Project / Casanova + Hernandez Architects" 01 Feb 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 30 May 2015. <>
  • design elements

    interesting combination of art, technology and architecture.

  • Azhar

    Eco-friendly Architecture building

  • drew

    This is architecture what makes the user feeling happy :)

  • jan adegeest

    The gorgeous green building makes the brick block rather boring, I think, even though its nice designed as well. I don’t see or ready anything that is exceptional eco-friendly about this building

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