Design and supervision of apartments

The massive IJburg urban expansion project to the northeast of Amsterdam is situated on a large sandbank. The architects ZJA were asked to design and supervise construction for one of the blocks in this ambitious expansion plan.

ZJA asked the offices of Frits van Dongen and Loof & Van Stigt to design the housing within the block. The block lies at the centre of the Haveneiland (‘Harbour Island’), bounded by a canal to the north and a park to the south. Guiding principle for the plan was to make a relatively simple and restrained block amidst a cacophony of spectacular plans for the surrounding blocks. As far as possible the budget will be employed to build spacious dwellings with a large area of fenestration in the elevations.

The basis for the layout of the urban block is an enclosed built block, dissected by a street both lengthwise and breadthwise. The cross-streets divide the block into three parts of unequal size: a strip with separate built blocks overlooking the water, a U-shaped block on the park and a cluster on the east side. ‘Towers’ of six to eight storeys architecturally accentuate the corners of the block. The cross-streets have a more intimate character thanks to their lower and smaller-scale construction.

The plan combines owner-occupied and rental accommodation. Some of the dwellings in the rental sector are intended for disabled residents living in a communal group. This housing block also includes a cluster with dwellings that can be personally tailored. As part of the plan, half submerged, about 120 parking spaces will be realized.

Different atmospheres will be created within the urban block. A collective open-air space consisting of a wooden deck will be constructed in the inner space on top of the carpark storey. The inner grounds of the U-shaped block are intended for private gardens, and a square will be laid out between the open blocks overlooking the water.

In most cases the dwellings stand directly on the street. The lowest living floor stands on the semi-submerged parking storey slightly above the ground-floor level, to prevent people gazing in from the street. Staircases and paving give direct access to the houses from the street, similar to the situation in the old city centre of Amsterdam. A ground-floor entrance has been devised for disabled residents alongside of the raised wooden deck on the inner square.

Client: Johan Matser Projectontwikkeling