The housing block in the Oosterheem estate in Zoetermeer consists of 125 compact social-sector apartments for young people. The apartments, on average about 50 m2 in floor area, are arranged back to back. This gives the block a sculptural appearance without an explicit front or rear facade. A monumental staircase forms the pivot of a cluster of twelve apartments. The staircase also functions as a collective outdoor space. The building system is designed for flexibility: removing a detachable wall converts two of the present apartments into a single larger one. Each apartment has a balconette, and a collective garden is provided at ground floor level. On the street side, a pavement bordered by low parapets forms an intermediate zone between the public and private domains. The facades incline forwards by 40 cm per storey, giving this zone a sheltered feeling. The sloping elevation also reflects differences in the size of the apartments. The apartments at one end of the block are served by a lift; these are larger than the others and have a collective terrace on the roof.
The facade filler panels of brickwork in a relief pattern were prefabricated in combination with concrete. The result is, paradoxically, a massive, richly detailed building which is at the same time a lightweight ‘Meccano model’ of filler panels framed by steel joists.