Over the next coming years Amsterdam has set out the ambitious task to build 6,240 dwellings on a new artificial island called IJburg composed of two main islands, Haveneiland and Rieteiland. On Haveneiland an orthogonal grid of urban streets with generous building blocks of individual expression define the island’s character. We were asked to develop 114 dwellings from different market segments and 114 parking places for Block 43a in Haveneiland East.

Block 43a occupies a spectacular location in the plan for Haveneiland East. The urban plan asked for 135 meter 8 story L-shaped building located at the end of the Bert Haanstrakade along the north quay overlooking the IJsselmeer. Along the southern edge, Block 43a borders itself along one of the main canals leading into the inner harbour of Haveneiland, creating a condition where back and front are equally visible while having complimenting qualities of views and sunlight. Block 43a is further organized through four separate entrances and a variety of orientations in the urban plan to determine a singular and volumetric expression for the building.

Our proposal creates a rich 3 dimensional and vertical expression through combining the rigid rationality of the standard Dutch housing module of a 5.4 meter tunnel wall system with the wave like movement of the water. To enrich this expression a highly reflective material is used along the extrusions of these walls to create a chameleon-like effect to the massivity of the volume, reminiscent of the famous sculptural Amsterdam school elevations. Four unique water based houses and a volumetric garden are under further development on the canal side edge of Block 43a.

Location: Amsterdam, NL
Year: 2006 - 2008
Site: 0.5 ha
Program: 114 dwellings in mixed tenure, 111 parking places, 400 m2 retail space
Client: Het Oosten Kristal BV