Nieuw Leyden


Leiden is a beautiful university town, rather like Holland’s Cambridge, blessed with picturesque street scenes containing a mess of bikes nestling happily beside venerable institutions and museums. MVRDV has laid out a new piece of Leiden in a simple and very attractive way. East-west streets are for vehicles; north-south streets are all about people, plants, pots, bikes, lights, mess. Each house has a width and height rule - corner houses fill their plot - but otherwise the elevations are open season. It could be a zoo, but it hangs together surprisingly well. Parking is tucked underneath the terraces at ground floor, leaving gardens at first floor above (like Salford’s Chimney Pot scheme). Characterful terraces knit in nicely close by, and an old abattoir building (architects sketch anyone?) sitting in a park by the canal provides somewhere to meet and eat. It’s lovely. Lots more on the community right to build aspect here.