Amsterdam's Zuidas has something of a dual character. Colossal offices on the south side of the A10, and terraced houses on the north side. In the middle there is a building from the 1970s, designed as an office, that is used as a school and which we are bringing back to its original function. However, it will become the 'best-in-class office building', because the city, neighbourhood, location and building demand this. We felt duty-bound to do this.
The Baankwartier is a small corner of Rotterdam city centre that seems to be a little overlooked. However, nothing could be further from the truth. The Cool neighbourhood, of which the Baankwartier is part, has been designated as part of the high-rise city. In the place where the relics of the reconstruction determine the streetscape, the skyline of Rotterdam will be enhanced with the Cooltoren. The tower is so much more than apartments stacked up to the maximum construction height. It connects the various heights in its environment, on a large and small scale. The ‘Rotterdam layer’ and the frequently used construction height of around 70 metres are therefore very decisive, and naturally the base and top of the tower. Differentiating the building volume at these specific heights inextricably links the Cooltoren to the urban fabric and the Rotterdam skyline.
The Municipality of The Hague has developed Grote Marktstraat into the city’s main shopping street with an international ambience. The street has been turned into a sophisticated, car-free shopping boulevard. In line with this ambition, the old Sijthoff City has been transformed from a down-at-heel 1980s office building into a sophisticated retail Mecca.
Blaak House, designed by Kees Elffers as a classical interpretation of reconstruction architecture dates from 1950 and initially accommodated the Netherlands Trading Society. The building is characterised by a distinctive brick facade with a stately portico and a splendid natural stone entrance. Although it was once considered as ‘ready for demolition’, in 2010 it was designated as a nationally listed building.
Rieteiland-Oost was developed as a villa island on the new housing development (Vinex) neighbourhood of IJburg. Free-standing houses on expensive plots. This led to houses in the urban plan that are close to each other, but this density is adequately compensated with a public space with a high-quality design around a ‘dune’ theme. Our client decided to move with his family from the city centre of Amsterdam to a plot with its own private pier on the waterside of this island. We were asked to design their dream home here - a robust beach house.
In 2016, KPN decided to move its head office functions from The Hague to the KPN Toren on Wilhelminapier in Rotterdam. This building from 2000 by architect Renzo Piano is right next to the Erasmus Bridge and is known for its sloping facade. KPN wanted to add a sizeable publicly accessible programme and at the same time design all work and meeting places in accordance with KPN’s SMART technology.
Now that the Houthaven neighbourhood is no longer used for the transhipment of timber, this section of land is changing into a mixed creative area, while retaining its industrial character. Soon this will be home to large ships, stylish fashion, rugged factories, lively television recordings and theatre shows. Mediahaven turns making television into a public and open experience, and it is a creative pioneer that has brought expression to the transformation of Houthavens.
The land next to the Hulstkamp Building on the Maaskade on Rotterdam’s Noordereiland has been waiting to be filled since 1892. A variety of circumstances meant it was not possible until now to construct an appropriate building here. Four luxury apartments will now be built on and around the low-rise building next to the Hulstkamp Building. It is a sensitive project, in a sensitive location. Maaskade is an urban conservation area, and the Hulstkamp Building is a nationally listed building.
“De Klokkenwoning” is located on the Rodenrijseweg in Berkel. This is a monumental farmhouse from 1852 that owes its name to the clock on the drawbridge, which is one of the few drawbridges that still exist in Berkel. For the owner of the farmhouse, we created a special plan to restore the monumental farmhouse that had become dilapidated to its former glory and to create extra homes on the grounds, while retaining its historical character.
Nieuw Hoboken, designed by the well-known Rotterdam architect Herman Bakker, was built in 1974 as an office building, deserves better. It continues to be a distinctively burly ‘seventies’ building, but no longer is no longer appropriate for these times or this site. A closed ground floor facade and a monofunctional office building in a residential neighbourhood were signals for the new owner to consider redevelopment.
A motorway is not a city square, shopping street, or road leading to a train station. A motorway crosses through the landscape, touches cities, and above all offers visibility and accessibility. Why then do we often see office buildings alongside motorways that look as if they are part of the urban fabric? Why do they have the front door on a pavement, with a picnic table behind a sound barrier and a large logo on the roof for recognition? We think this can be done differently and better. Heliport in Dordrecht was founded on these ambitions.
Built in 1960 to serve temporarily as a town hall, and then used for years as a workshop and studio, the building was transformed into a residential building in 2018. The original building has a fascinating modernist and no-nonsense appearance but does little in terms of urban planning to make this part of the inner city more interesting. This is where the challenge lay for us, namely, to retain the DNA of the building and the character of the south side of the city centre as post-war reconstruction architecture and create a second reconstruction that provides a quality boost for Arnhem.
This exceptional unique location stands out from the other crossings over the Amsterdam–Rhine Canal because of its cultural and historic significance. This is the point where the Defence Line of Amsterdam (UNESCO world heritage site since 1996) and the New Dutch Waterline meet each other. This scenic and military cultural history primarily relates to earth-moving and flooding, which is represented in all aspects of the bridge’s design.