Good things come in small packages

07 Sep 2010

Amsterdam residences by KCAP stand tall despite towering neighbours

KCAP Architects & Planners has realised the Django Building - an apartment complex in Amsterdam’s Zuidas development area. The building occupies lot 8 of Zuidas’ Gershwin, Cluster III District for which KCAP previously completed a mass study. Gershwin III is realised on behalf of Royaal Zuid, a consortium consisting of ERA Contour, Prospect Zuidas BV and Bouwfonds Ontwikkeling. Prospect Zuidas is a partnership of the housing corporations Eigen Haard, Stadgenoot and Rochdale.

Gershwin is the first district of Zuidas which focuses on housing with a diverse variety of apartment types. Of the total of 1,500 homes over the entire area approximately 300 will be realised in Gershwin III. The Django Building, one of the first completed residential buildings there, comprises of 108 rental apartments, commercial spaces and a one-storey underground parking garage by Inbo architects. The remainder of the buildings will be completed by 2015.

With its 9 storeys, the Django building is the lowest city block between the highest building in the area, the 29-storey twin tower Amsterdam Symphony designed by the Architecten Cie, and the 20-storey Duke Tower designed by Ateliers Lion. "This contrast is what we find challenging and exciting”, says Han van den Born, architect and partner of KCAP.

KCAP divides the 15,000 sq m total programme over two buildings, a sunken garden and several terraces. The lower floors, with mainly commercial spaces, are defined by a printed glass facade. Above, black brickwork and a repetitive but slightly shifted pattern of anodised window frames and balconies dominate the building’s appearance. The all-sidedness of the facade enhances the sculptural character of the stone volumes on the glass plinth.

Constructively, the application of a load bearing facade allows for large window openings on all sides. All living areas are oriented in two directions and glazed from floor to ceiling. Cold and warmth storage, with a closed source system, is employed to ensure sustainable cooling and heating in the apartments.

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