A sweeping form of stepped balconies that overlook the IJ waterfront defines the De Jakoba social housing in Amsterdam, designed by local practice Studioninedots.
The block of 135 apartments forms part of a wider residential development for the Overhoeks neighbourhood, which sits on the opposite side of the harbour to the city’s central station.
Far from the typical urban fabric of Amsterdam, this new area is defined by low housing blocks and towers, which Studioninedots looked to subtly subvert through De Jakoba’s form and detailing.
“Within the formal urban plan for the Overhoeks area – which with its ‘campus-like’ setting is rather un-Amsterdam – we gave our own interpretation of the set rules,” explained Studioninedots.
“The plan specified setbacks for the buildings to minimise the volumes from street level,” it continued.
“We took advantage of this condition by bending the entire volume of De Jakoba inwards, allowing the volume to stagger and gradually curve upwards.”
The form of the building, which is wider at both ends and gets gradually smaller as it rises, means that each of the 135 apartments has a slightly unique layout and size.
Organised lengthways along a central circulation corridor, each apartment is single-aspect, apart from those which turn its corners. All of the living spaces open onto balconies that surround the perimeter of each floor.
At the narrowest point in the block’s centre, an entrance route cuts through the building’s ground floor.
According to the studio it was designed “to create a sense of arrival” while connecting a communal garden to the north with the street to the south.
The facade, which was designed as prefabricated elements to minimise construction time, has been finished with curved pillars in pale-green concrete, complemented by silver-gold window frames and balustrades.
While the balcony spaces are communal, accessed through rows of sliding glass doors, these concrete pillars provide a subtle demarcation between each apartment.
“A play of lines between the horizontal bands and vertical fins of soft green material distinguishes De Jakoba from the surrounding buildings,” by Studioninedots.
“As the thin edges of the concrete panels could be polished in one stroke, we were able to conveniently add attractive detailing to the facades.”
Studioninedots was founded in Amsterdam in 2011 by Albert Herder, Vincent van der Klei, Arie van der Neut and Metin van Zijl.
Previous projects by the studio on Dezeen include a home in Eindhoven organised around a patchwork of courtyards and the renovation of a 1970s office building with a large central void and steel staircase.
The photography is by Peter Tijhuis.
Design team: Albert Herder, Vincent van der Klei, Arie van der Neut, Metin van Zijl, Stijn de Jongh, Erik Hoogendam, Mai Bogø, Ania Bozek
Collaborators: Dura Vermeer, Buro Sant en Co., Strackee, Nieman Raadgevende Ingenieurs, VDNDP
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