STUDENT HOMES FOR STUDENTS, AMSTERDAM
In the 1960s a clutch of large-scale buildings were erected along Grote Bickersstraat, the principal street of 17th-century Bickerseiland in Amsterdam. Since then such large volumes have come to be regarded as out of place in the small-scale historic inner urban areas, and so these buildings were demolished. On the former site of one office colossus, ‘de Narwal’, now stands a complex of 88 student flats.
The idea behind this new building ‘or rather quintet of buildings’ was to slot a great many dwellings into small volumes better suited to the size and scale of the surroundings. It also satisfies the client’s wishes to house the students in easy-to-read entities. Four alleys slice through the complex. The slender urban volumes this produces have the dimensions of old Amsterdam houses. The alleys also make good places for the entrances to the flats.
There are two kinds of flats: single-person units and units shared by four students. The four-person units are placed at the top of the blocks and share a kitchen opening onto the roof terrace. All flats, at both front and back, have a French balcony. Beneath each block is a cellar for storage and parking space for the apartment building beyond. The entrance to this parking level is incorporated in the rhythm of the bays. The whole adds up to a basic, low-key quintet that gives a playful nod to the past.