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Foto: Dudok Architectuur Centrum
On the spot where the municipal gas factory was established in 1885, then a rural drifting sand area on the heath east of the railway station that opened in 1874, a completely new residential area called Villa Industria appeared in the years 2004-2016. The master plan for the district was commissioned by housing corporation De Alliantie by the international architectural firm Mecanoo Architecten, based in Delft. The name Villa Industria refers to the early development of this place when many industries and industries settled on the east side of Hilversum. The neighborhood is inspired by the early industrial character of the location
On the site of the gas factory, when it opened in 1885, there were several sheds, furnaces and two gas holders next to the factory. The gas was also used for street lighting. The enormous population growth around the beginning of the twentieth century, and the subsequent urban expansion, meant that the factory had to be expanded regularly. In 1933 a third gas holder was added, 40 meters high and more than 30 meters in diameter, so that the factory was visible from afar. The gas holders were characterized by the net of steel beams and vertical guides. The three striking residential towers on the corner of Jan van der Heijdenstraat and Minckelersstraat refer to the cylindrical gas holders of the gas factory, which once stood on this location.
The gradual switch to electricity ensured that the gas lanterns disappeared from the streets. In 1962 the last gas lanterns were replaced by electric ones. When natural gas was discovered in Slochteren in the early sixties, and the gas factory was at the end of its life, the municipal council, as one of the first in the Netherlands, decided to switch to Groningen gas for gas distribution and the gas factory was no longer used. posed. The factory was now completely surrounded by residential buildings. The remains of the factory, including the characteristic gas holders, were gradually demolished to make way for offices and other facilities from 1971. At the end of the twentieth century, plans arose to build an entirely new residential area on the site. A thorough, years-long decontamination of the site was necessary before it could actually be built on.
The architecture of the homes (social rental housing and owner-occupied housing) has industrial details, referring to the special history and contributing to the industrial character. Striking are the different types of roofs that have been used (gable roofs, shell roofs and flat roofs), which also refer to early industrial buildings. The different houses all have the same materialization, which creates cohesion and unity.