The client, New Cheese Development in collaboration with Egeria, has purchased the Blaak 333 building with the intention of constructing housing on this site. This means that the office building from the early 1960s has to be demolished down to the first floor, since a residential building is significantly heavier than an office skeleton. A new foundation slab will be installed in the existing basement, preventing demolition of the foundation and basement walls. In the lower two layers, communal facilities and catering facilities will be included.
The ambition is to create a total concept with, in addition to the apartments, a city lounge where reading, meditation, informal meetings, co-working and catering are combined. These functions will be included, together with housing, in the so-called 'Rotterdam layer' of 4 floors. Above that, the high-rise towers up to 24 floors, over 70 m. Around the core, 13 apartments of various sizes are included per layer. Extending balconies run all around the building, creating depth in the facade. The facade design is inspired by a relief by Jan Schoonhoven, with staggered sloping planes in the depth of the balconies. This, and the design of the inner façade, avoids vertically continuous lines, and creates a lively image that will show even more diversity when occupied, like books in a bookcase. Also in the lower layers, the bookcase is - in this case literally - central from the entrance. Around it are the lounges, workplaces and the catering industry. An environmental plan (a collaboration between Laplab, the municipality and the design team) anchors the building in its surroundings and provides for greenery and the construction of (roof) terraces.
The project involved a large number of consultants, who had also worked on earlier versions of the plan. Kraaijvanger Architects is ultimately responsible for the result, but works together with Stndrd (concept development, interior rental spaces and graphic design) and Laplab (environmental design). Technically speaking, replacing the old tower in the city center is a very complex operation. For the design C2C principles have been applied: energy efficient, stimulation of bio-diversity with nesting boxes, vegetable application, composting facility, reusable components as much as possible, such as a demountable facade, flexibility in the skeleton by softspots and a mobility plan based on bicycles and electric cars.
Replacing an outdated office with a vital, comfortable residential building with a diversity of collective functions will be a great contribution to the livability of the center. The building is as far as possible nature-inclusive and cradle-to-cradle. The apartments will be surrounded by beautiful, deep balconies. The meaningless edges around the current, dense building will be transformed into lively, green areas, particularly on the waterfront.
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New Cheese Development, Amsterdam
Dirk Jan Postel, Mijke Rood, Iris van der Weijde, Piotr Prazanowski, Jan Hein Franken, Jan Dorsman