News

Conceptual Directions in Dutch Housing

A1

Dutch houses are packed tightly together with individual entries connecting down to the street. Hooks on every gable allow furniture to be hoisted up into windows so mattresses don’t get hung up on the vertiginous stairways.

 

A2

 

E3

Amsterdam’s traditional rowhouses each have their own personalities, with the canals keeping them all in line. At Borneo Sporenburg, even big name architects with egos to match are willing to acknowledge an underlying social consensus.

 

Scheepstimmermanstraat Rowhouses

Scheepstimmermanstraat Rowhouses Various architects, Borneo Sporenburg, Amsterdam 1998-2001

 

Amsterdam Pre WW1 016

 

Amsterdam Post WW1

La Grande Cour Meyer en Van Schooten Architecten, Westerdokseiland, Amsterdam 2007

Urban blocks, often with ground fl oor retail, become evocative compositions of large- and small-scale elements. New Westerdokseiland developments offer aggressively sculpted and heroically-scaled volumes humanized by terraces, balconies, and arcades.

 

F1

 

F2

La Grande Cour Meyer en Van Schooten Architecten, Westerdokseiland, Amsterdam 2007

Housing, shops, and public walkways interlock to create rich sequences of suburban spaces built with America was laying out Levittowns. Recent center-city construction pumps up the scale and complexity to create environments with sci-fi overtones.

 

G1

 

The Whale

The Whale Frits van Dongen, Borneo Sporenburg, Amsterdam, 2000

Blocks of housing surrounding intimate inner courtyards are typical throughout the Netherlands. At “The Whale,” a taut-skinned volume is shaped to form a strong urban profile, and then lifted up to expose space hidden within.

 

Het Schip

Het Schip Michel de Klerk, Amsterdam 1919

 

WoZoCo’s Apartments

WoZoCo’s Apartments MVRDV, Amsterdam 1997

The Amsterdam School architects warped traditional masonry to make it amazingly light and fl uid. MVRDV continues their use of sculptural forms to express both individuality and collective identity.

 

C2

 

Montessori School and Housing Complex

Montessori School and Housing Complex Herman Hertzberger, Grote Bickerstraat, Amsterdam 2002

Shutters animate sober masonry facades and let residents control their relationship to the street. Herman Hertzberger’s operable panels are part of a taut wooden rainscreen ingeniously hinged so windows play hide-and-go-seek.

 

B2

 

Ij Tower Apartments Neutelings Riedijk Architects, Amsterdam 1998

Ij Tower Apartments
Neutelings Riedijk Architects, Amsterdam 1998

Dutch housing is marked by sweeping horizontals that defi ne the street and towers that create landmarks. Ij housing updates this compositional strategy with a shrink-wrapped façade that is then sliced away to make urban-scale voids.

 

Erasmuslaan 9 Housing Block Gerrit Rietveld, Utrecht 1931

Erasmuslaan 9 Housing Block
Gerrit Rietveld, Utrecht 1931

 

I1

The Erasmuslaan 9 homes are composed of floating white planes-- a Europeanized version of Frank Lloyd Wright’s vision. The architectural language is now so ingrained in the nation’s psyche that it has become a standard for suburban developers.

 

The Sphinxes Housing

The Sphinxes Housing
Neutelings Riedijk, Huizen 2003

 

Didden Village

Didden Village
MVRDV, Rotterdam 2007

Limited space encourages creative strategies for developing housing throughout the Netherlands. “The Sphinxes” seem to sail down a broad canal while Didden Village fl oats above the rooftops of a traditional neighborhood.

 

Sound Wall Houses

Sound Wall Houses
VHP, Hilversum 2001

 

“Spacebox” Student Housing Mart de Jong, Utrecht 2003

“Spacebox” Student Housing
Mart de Jong, Utrecht 2003

“Spacebox” housing is made from seemingly off -the-rack modules stacked up along circulation scaff olding. The Sound Wall Houses sink modular units below a highway to cut out traffic noise. Both rethink the rowhouse typology through inventive siting and production techniques.