Tag Archives: amsterdam

Steigereiland Kavel 114

Steigereiland Kavel 114 in Amsterdam, Netherlands by Architoop, 2007.

Steigereiland is an infill island in the eastern district of Lake IJsselmeer. It has been developed as a low-scale, mixed-use neighborhood comprised of small lots (6m x 25m; 20' x 80') with buildings around 3-5 stories. The resulting fabric is fine-grain and extremely varied, with bold contemporary expressions in brick, wood, concrete, and glass. It's like a blank canvas filled by Dutch architects with few restrictions.

This project at the T-intersection of Jan Olphert Vaillantlaan and Gerald Hulst van Keulenstraat was developed by the de Landman-Hesselink family as a single-family residence with two office/studio spaces. Spread across five floors, a fashion designer's studio occupies the ground floor, an architecture studio is one floor above, and "a comfortable living space" sits on top. The small mixed-use project (280sm; 3,000sf) was designed by Amsterdam's Architoop. (The architects and studio PLOT occupy the two studio spaces.)

Two distinguishing characteristics are predominant in the identity to be developed for Steigereiland: the presence of large-scale urban and landscape elements, and the concept of self-commissioned housing ... As far as possible, jobs on most islands will be mixed in with housing. -Masterplan Steigereiland

Tying these functions together in the five-story container is the South African slate that covers the front and rear facades. These shingles have a unique appearance from their composition: they are held apart from their neighbors and stagger as they overlap. This gives the stone skin an appearance like fish scales or like a fabric. Subtle variety in this homogeneous wrapper comes in the form of the window openings, which vary in size and orientation based on the spaces behind. On both the front and rear facades, the studio spaces are tied together in a double-height expression, while none of the windows for the residence repeat. The slate shingles actually wrap into the windows, giving the impression that the openings are cut into the stone skin.

Inside the palette is sparse -- concrete floors/ceilings, white stucco walls, powder coated steel railings -- congealing into what the architects' call "a light industrial accent." Here we can see the relationship between the spaces and the windows, especially in the residence: the bedrooms and bathrooms are given smaller openings, while ribbon windows frame the open living floor. Also of note are the setback and terraced top floor and stairs, which combine to bring a lot of natural light into the three-floor residence.


Boathouse in Amsterdam, Netherlands by Eindhoven Architecten BV, 2004.

The following text and images are by Robert Beelen of Eindhoven Architecten BV (now BEELEN CS architecten bv) for their design of a boathouse on a canal in Amsterdam.

The boathouse of Rob van Hemert and Anneke Nieuwenhuis is situated in the Schinkel canal in Amsterdam, near the Olympic Stadium. It measures 17 by 6 meters (56 by 20 feet), with a total height of 7 1/2 meters (24 feet) from which 2 meters (6 1/2 feet) are below the water-surface.

Vertically, the ark is divided into three zones. The bottom zone is situated in the concrete hull below the water-surface. This zone contains some service-rooms and guestrooms. A window in the terrace supplies fresh air and daylight into the guestrooms. In the central zone the main living rooms are situated, like entrance, kitchen with dining-area and living-room. The upper-zone accommodates the private quarters; a study, the master bedroom with bathroom and wardrobe. This vertical zoning is expressed in the façade with the use of different kind of materials.

The upper, private zone, has a more closed character and is clad with copper. This copper-clad "box" is carried by thin steel copper-clad columns with glass-panes and Western Red Cedar tiles in between. This provides the central zone with a more transparent appearance for the main living area. Below this, the concrete hull is the carrier for the arks upper zones. The horizontal jumps in the roof mark the horizontal division of the rooms and spaces. This horizontal spacing is also emphasized by the use of a split-level build-up.

Mauritskade Apartments

Mauritskade Apartments in Amsterdam, Netherlands by Erick van Egeraat, 2002.

Sited in the Dapperbuurt area of Amsterdam, twelve luxury apartments sit opposite the anthropological museum, Tropenmuseum. This prominent location, adjacent to one of the city's canals, sits on a triangular piece of land that is otherwise full of 19th century structures. So the architect, Erick van Egeraat, faced two contextual problems: relating to the existing buildings and dealing with the public face the site entails.

In addition to the twelve apartments, the program called for parking and commercial space, both fitted into the ground floor. According to the architect, "a mix of vertical and horizontal lines were chosen for the for the elevations to match the existing 19th century buildings." As the facade wraps, stone stacked vertically next to its neighbor gives way to a horizontal expression at the corner and back to verticality on the other street. So on both sides the building attempts to relate to the stacked, punched openings of the existing buildings.

While the dark, vertical stone gives the building much of its character, Egeraat varied the plan of each floor to create overhangs that further create shadow lines. With the intended effect, the building's image would change with the weather and the time of day. Given that the building is oriented with the longest elevation facing the canal, playing with the exteriors materials (wood frames provide a pleasant contrast to the stone and gray aluminum) and depth is appropriate.

In addition to dealing with the site characteristics through the exterior, the entries to the apartments are contained in separate lobbies. Doing this avoids long corridors but also allows for the greatest amount of window space for each unit, again appropriate for its location. But it is the varying floor plates and the curved corner that give the project its main identity, a restrained playfulness that is missing in a lot of Dutch architecture these days.

[Google Earth link]

Villa Arena Restaurant

Villa Arena Restaurant in Amsterdam, Netherlands be Benthem Crouwel Architects, 2001.

Floating in the atrium of Amsterdam's Villa Arena Home Furnishing Center is a restaurant designed by London's Vigile & Stone Associates, in cooperation with Amsterdam's Benthem Crouwel Architects. Reachable via second-floor footbridges, the restaurant's most notable feature is its patina-green, copper cladding, wrapping the oblong cylindrical object.

Perched atop six slanted steel columns, the restaurant's exterior is in sharp contrast to the surrounding glass and metal of the atrium, just like the signage and furnishings of the adjacent shops. Popularized in buildings by James Stirling, and recently in Alsop & Störmer's Peckham Library in London, here the patina-green copper contains a bit of irony; the internal conditions of the atrium are far less severe than the outside in terms of copper's natural patina. Therefore the green color is more an aesthetic choice than a speeding up of nature.

Aside from the green, copper cladding object "floating" in the atrium, the restaurant has other flight connotations, both in how it is accessed and the cylindrical space it contains. Also the doors that cover the entrances when the restaurant is closed work much like airplane doors, in this case hinging upward. Horizontal glass openings frame views of the six-story atrium, at a height for the seated visitor, with vertical slit windows giving an upward view in four locations.

The ends are capped with glass, referencing the shop windows of the surroundings atrium stores. Inside the restaurant is designed to act as a respite from the hustle of the shopping at Villa Arena. Therefore its location and exterior are appropriate, helping the make the restaurant a foreign object in its locale.

[Google Earth link]

Europan Complex

Europan Complex in Amsterdam, Netherlands by Arons en Gelauff Architecten, 2002.

The following text and images are contributed by Arons en Gelauff Architecten for their Europan Complex in Amsterdam Osdorp, The Netherlands. Click on images (copyright Vercruysse Dujardin of Belgium) for larger views.

To meet with the ever-present demand for housing, Amsterdam again is looking west. Over the coming twenty years, the post-war extension of Garden city West will be refurbished. In 1996, an international competition was held for a plot bordering the centre of the district with the aim to find new ways of dealing with densification of the existing urban scheme. This project was the winning entry.

The claim to the relative small piece of land (3000 m2) was to build 112 apartments with parking space and 1200 m2 of commercial space. An important objective in the design was the creation of a high quality communal space within the building and to leave a small public square on the southwest of the building.

The stratified architecture reflects the interior functions. The first two layers (maisonettes, parking, commercial space, and storage) are clad in dark brick. On the third floor a large communal garden is surrounded on three sides by apartments. Over a height of seven meters, the fourth side of the court is left out, creating a huge balcony that overlooks the new public square six meters below. From the fourth floor up, dwellings in various types are clad in enamelled glass and untreated timber.

The district is characterized by industrially made, modernist blocks that total around 3,000 identical dwellings. In our project we have included 26 different types of dwellings. Small garden maisonnettes over two and three floors, bigger and smaller corridor duplexes, various varieties of gallery apartments, around-the-corner flats, and extra high terrace houses make a welcome contribution to the bland choice on offer around the project.


1 block: 65 x 55 meters, 8 stories high
112 apartments (all for sale) - 26 different dwelling types
1200 sm commercial space
112 building parking spaces
completion date: 2002

WoZoCo’s Apartments

WoZoCo's Apartments

WoZoCo's Apartments in Amsterdam-Osdorp, Netherlands by MVRDV, 1997.

MVRDV is a part of the growing number of young Dutch architects given the freedom to build large projects in their mainland, due to the country's large population density and inherent need for housing. WoZoCo's Apartments for Elderly People (1994-97), a product of the "grey wave", provide 100 units in an area of Amsterdam threatened with loss of green space due to a large increase in density. MVRDV's solution is indicative of the firm's ability to create original designs through practical considerations.

Due to zoning regulations regarding adequate daylighting in apartments, only 87 of the 100 units could fit the restricted footprint. To respect the open space on the rest of the site, the remaining units were cantilevered on to the north facade, connected to the transparent gallery of the main block in a seemingly impossible manner. The structure of these floating boxes is buried behind the wood sheathing and within the main block, creating a sense of instability in their connection to the thin wall of the north facade.

We combine the technique of assemblage with strong zoning envelopes, often "discovered" through a recombination of program and site-specific elements.   -MVRDV

This gesture created additional costs that were dealt with in economic layouts for the rest of the project, providing savings that paid for the expense of the cantilevered units. The simple apartments in the main block achieve their own unique character through the seemingly random size and location of windows and balconies on the south facade. Referred to as the "small-talk" zone by the architects, this side of the building repeats the composition of the north facade, but on a smaller scale.

As the density of the Netherlands continues to increase new means are sought to deal with this condition, which enables young architects like MVRDV to create innovative designs on large-scale projects without the need to prove themselves beforehand. This openness gives MVRDV an incentive to find solutions to practical issues that are fresh and inventive, bringing with them an optimistic belief in human imagination and creativity in response to pragmatic considerations.

[Google Earth link]