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Buurtschap Crailo · Crailo, the Netherlands

From military base to nature-inclusive neighbourhood


Buurtschap Crailo (lit. neighbourhood Crailo) realises a unique combination of qualities. Developed on the site of a former military base and spread over three different municipalities, it is surrounded by forests and nature reserves. A neighbourhood will be developed here in which residents can completely withdraw into nature, in a way that perfectly meets contemporary needs. In addition, the development makes it possible to strengthen the area as a natural connector in the region.

Crailo, the Netherlands
In progress
2018 - ongoing
Project area
40 ha
GEM Crailo
SVP architectuur en stedenbouw, Arcadis, Tauw

Green ambition

Crailo plays a crucial role as a connecting point between the natural areas on either side of the A1 motorway; the Bussumerheide to the south and the Blaricummerheide to the north. The restoration of the area not only aims to rejuvenate the site but also prioritizes nature conservation. The inclusion of the south-west flank in the nature zone will further boost the recently completed ecoduct’s effect.  Together with ecologists, five target species for biodiversity have been identified, for which the various green areas have been specifically designed, called the “Big Five of Crailo”.

A biodiversity plan focuses on the three pillars of biodiversity; creating robust, sufficiently large natural areas, making sure they are connected, as well as creating gradients to create different habitats for different species.

Creator of meaningful places

Comprehensive sustainability

A sustainability tool, called the “Rad van Crailo,” ensures that sustainability remains in focus throughout the design process. The main attention areas are identity, energy, mobility and biodiversity. Through collaborative effort, an energy concept has been devised to make the area future-proof, achieving “zero on the meter” and producing energy for 13,000 km of electric transportation per household. Emphasis is placed on sustainable transport, with shared neighbourhood hubs and central locations for electric car sharing and other shared facilities.

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Creating a neighbourhood for all

The decision was made to transform the area into a new neighbourhood, known as a “Buurtschap,” a self-sustaining community in ‘t Gooi. This buurtschap is designed to be affordable and open to all who wish to contribute to the specific development ambition – living harmoniously with nature. The design emphasizes collective landscapes rather than individual gardens, reducing pavement widths, encouraging a lower parking norm, shared parking at a distance, and communal mobility from day one. Around 600 dwellings will be built in the new Buurtschap Crailo, with one-third designated as social rental homes.

Approximately half of the area will be dedicated to (existing and new) nature. Additionally, around 600 dwellings will be built, with one-third designated as social rental homes. Five hectares will be reserved for businesses and amenities.


Heritage transformed

Approximately half of the area will be dedicated to (existing and new) nature, while five hectares will be reserved for businesses and amenities. The existing military buildings will be preserved and converted into residences, creative enterprises, or a combination of both. Garage hangars and the museum building are intended for private initiative groups looking to combine living and working. The Spiegelhorst, a concrete building of nearly 5,000 m2, will be transformed into a mixed-use space, incorporating restaurants, sustainable businesses, and dwellings.


Spatial layout

The Buurtschap Crailo consists of three areas, with the “Laan van Crailo” serving as the main pedestrian and cycling route. The Kazernekwartier, centred around the historical ensemble of the Kolonel Palmkazerne, retains its campus-like layout with existing and new buildings. “Op de Hei,” the heath heart, is where the heath landscape from the nearby Bussumerheide is being pulled into the site amongst scattered residential buildings which land straight in the green. “Op Zuid,” situated south of the “Gebed zonder End,” accommodates businesses and residences, with a new circular and intelligent eco-wall serving as a transition to the Goois Natuurreservaat and protecting the functionality of the Laarderhoogt ecoduct that crosses the A1.

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