AN URBAN LIVING ROOMJanuary 30, 2017
A housing association in Roosendaal owned a building with about 4,000 square meters of space with various users, with the library being the main renter and occupying about half of the space. Yet, there was still a vast amount of vacant space, ready to be brought to life.
The large building owned by the housing association is called Parrotia, and it was left with 2,000 square meters, or 50% of the area, not being rented out. The housing association which was founded to provide affordable housing to those less fortunate was losing money itself, and space was going to waste. We were called to help find a solution. So we began a brainstorming session with the board members of the association, the director of library, and each of their very helpful teams. There was a sense of urgency to fill the space with something positive; an urban living room as social cement.
An urban living room as social cement.
Roosendaal needed an urban living room that would house different cultural facilities in this one building. We spoke with another 12-14 organizations and animated them to join our efforts in helping their community remain vibrant and not let this space go unused. The excitement for the project and the local energy were contagious. The supporters included an architecture firm, an elderly care organization, an art lending company, the library, a coffee company, two clubs for the local elderly people and even the local newspaper. Next, this concept needed focus and an identity. As the concept development and art direction guide, we helped Roosendaal create its own brand.
Creative management and representing Roosendaal
We concluded that we had to create a dynamic place that fosters unexpected encounters in an inspiring and safe atmosphere. There would be a coffee house, activities and storytelling. The rooms would be open and transparent, but not sterile. Equality was a focus, enabled by financial and physical accessibility for all. Parrotia would convince people to visit because it enriched them by getting them inspired. The building had to be personal, accessible, safe, creative and authentic; a living room there to enrich each and every visitor.
We summed up the building’s goals in a brief to help find the suitable brand designer and the perfect interior architect for the project: MARS Interieurarchitecten. Meanwhile, we stayed onboard to cater for some roadmaps here and there, and made sure all parties had their focus pointing toward the same destination on the horizon as the project concept guard. Parrotia would be typically ‘Roosendaal’; greeting you in a heartfelt manner, accepting you as you are, and giving back more than receiving. A once empty space was now filled with a well-balanced mix of life and value, making Roosendaal’s Parrotia a home away from home.
The new design of Parrotia Roosendaal by MARS Interieurarchitecten is based on a vision created and supervised by includi in collaboration with Woonstichting Alwel and Bibliotheek VANnU as a result of a workshop to transform Parrotia into a welcoming third place.
Photography: Jan de Vries