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Tuesday 14 Feb 2012

Tony Fretton Architects-designed building in the Netherlands gives full flexibility to users

Many new builds claim to provide maximum flexibility to their end users but few reach the levels of Tony Fretton Architects’ Solid 11 structure in Constantijn Huygenstraat, Oud West, Amsterdam. This brick and glass volume is the third in a sequence of buildings on the edge of the Jacob van Lennep Canal as part of a masterplan by late Belgian architect Jo Crepain, the existing structures housing a psychiatric hospital and social housing units.

This shining new addition provides a basic contemporary shell from which end users can detail their requirements, taking advantage of the flexibility of the site to derive their ultimate internal space from the completed volume. Potential uses include hotels space, office units, housing, cafes, and public amenities, and Tony Fretton Architects explain that the ‘spaces are architecturally powerful yet non-specific, inviting a variety of uses’.

The original brief demanded a building whose communal areas had a 200-year life span and as such, the architects created a timeless aesthetic, blending charcoal-fired Petersen bricks and wide expanses of polished glass. Penthouse pavilions at the structure’s apex and recessed star-shaped elements at the fourth and fifth floors boast highly reflective structural glass curtain walls add a modern twist to an otherwise classic frame.

Stadgenoot commissioned the architects for this seven-storey project with a fully-formed concept of the durable and sustainable typology for the final project. This flexible shell not only offers its tenants a wide variety of uses but provides a fresh private open space in the heart of the building, bringing together a diverse assortment of users in a social environment.

Solid 11 is separated from its partner buildings by a series of public spaces which are open to all and its internal courtyard is intended to become ‘a neighbourhood in itself’. A six-storey acoustic screen protects the tenants from excess noise in this area.

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