Sometimes praised, often criticized, always a subject for debate. We’re talking about the so-called Vinex districts, named after the Vierde Nota over de Ruimtelijke Ordening Extra, a white paper on spatial development issued by the Dutch ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment. Vinex districts have been built or are going up all over the country, adding hundreds of thousands of homes to the nation’s housing stock. In the Vinex Atlas fifty-two of these districts are described in detail with the help of aerial photographs, ground plans, information about the sites and their locations, and recent photos of the new townscapes they have created. At the front of the book there is an extensive introduction on the history and implementation of the programme, making it a complete work of reference to one of the Netherlands’ most comprehensive construction plans of recent years.
Turning to the design, although it could easily have given rise to a programmatic approach it has turned out reasonably value-free and objective. The large volume of information has been cast in so neutral and precise a mould that the careful reader will have no difficulty drawing his own conclusions.
The typeface used is Kai Bernau’s Neutral – a good choice – and the colours are all PMS colours, each with its own meaning so that they are a good guide through the book. Designer Joost Grootens has already proved himself with the presentation of unique cartography in the Limes Atlas and the Metropolitan World Atlas. There’s strong picture editing, too: plans for expansion are consistently set facing or following aerial photographs of the original area, so you get a good idea of the kind of vision these planners have. Over nine hundred man-hours of drawing and design work have delivered a razor-sharp picture of continuing urbanization in the Netherlands.
Gold medal, Best Book Design from all over the World, Leipzig 2009