Open Ateliers 11

Open Ateliers is a modular building system which envisions a building as a continuous ‘work in progress’, constantly adapting to the demands of its users and location. It is inspired by the qualities of the studio houses of the 20th century, where high spaces with abundant light provided maximal freedom to the resident in order to combine living and working.


Built on the basis of a generic steel frame with a width of 5.20 m, and a standard height of three floors, this building system allows for the accommodation of a variety of individual wishes. A garage door with a double-height opening towards the street, a triple-height library space with a central void, an office space with three individual floors, or a small shop with a double-height street-facing unit and storage on the upper floor – all are options that are possible within the flexible unit of the grid. As housing modules, the units can accommodate for families, several couples or students. Moreover, the roof of each unit is accessible from the inside, providing each module with outdoor space – or, when the units are combined, a communal rooftop terrace.


When employed as work-live spaces, the Open Atelier system offers a space where the mix of living and working happens both within the realm of the unit, and at the level of the entire ensemble if the units are linked. Through the expression of the character of each unit towards the street, a collective of individual units create a milieu of lively street scenes that evolve at different paces throughout the day and encourage social exchange, reminiscent of the social fabric of historic city centers.


For the design of the facade, the user can choose from a fixed number of elements, enabling the configuration of a varied street view that celebrates the diversity of the program behind each unit, whilst at the same time keeping to a strong collective appearance. Naturally, the mix of living and working, which is translated into standard elements, also creates hybrid situations whereby the entire facade of a living room opens by means of a sectional door and transforms into a large indoor-outdoor space.


The modular construction system consists of easy-to-disassemble floors and facade elements, making future programmatic changes easy to imagine and introduce within the system, as well as the street frontage. This potential of ever-changing scenarios within a fixed grid renders the building as a continuous process, a permanent work in progress – as opposed to a finite result – that is able to adapt to the changing demands of time.



‘Open Ateliers 11: Strong skeleton’ Read review in De Architect

‘Eerste project met modulair bouwsysteem van HOH opgeleverd’ Read article on Architectenweb

See also project Open Ateliers

Location: Utrecht, The Netherlands

Client: Urban Developments B.V.

Contractor: HLE Bouw

Program: Business Units

Area: 1.800m2

Budget: 1.800.000 euro

Status: Completed in 2020

Project Team: Freyke Hartemink, Carsten Hilgendorf, Jarrik Ouburg, Emma Bellucci, Andrea Ceko, Luigi Fabozzi

Consultants: Smits van Burgst, De Prouw

Photo’s: HOH Architecten