Amsterdam’s new focal point

Nick Myall
Monday 13 Jun 2016

LEVS architecten have created a vibrant centrepiece in Amsterdam

The robust and detailed brickwork of Square, across from RAI Amsterdam Convention Centre in the Netherlands was unveiled some weeks ago. However, last week Square was officially opened, and celebrated with the opening of the building’s centrepiece, a large courtyard gate. LEVS architecten was commissioned by Wonam to design this residential building of 111 mid-market rental apartments. Square is set to become a landmark feature in the central square in Kop Zuidas, which is part of the developing city district of Zuidas, Amsterdam's prime location and urban hub south of the historical centre. With its young residents and a street-level restaurant, the development will become the vibrant focal point of this emerging neighbourhood.

Square is a compact five- to eight-storey apartment-building that circumscribes a central green courtyard. The design is simultaneously in line with the 1920s Amsterdam School Style of the surrounding larger district and the adjacent post-war neighbourhood. Square’s prominent character derives from the profiled brickwork, a 7m-tall colonnade that lines the square in front, generous balconies, and spacious storeys with 3m-high ceilings. Inside, white columns create a classical colonnade around an intimate courtyard. On the outside balconies, glass screens have been placed for reasons of highway noise-regulation, and will eventually be removed, once this area is fully developed and quiet returns.

Apartments vary from 55 to 75 m², with hi-grade interiors in the tradition of Dutch pre-war housing. All apartments feature built-in closets, a kitchen, and a luxurious bathroom. The taller ground-floor further allows for several remarkable floorplan-types. Those apartments have a lively relationship with street-life. A sloped ramp below the two-storey-tall gate leads into the underground bike-shelter and storage-rooms below the courtyard.

Square uses innovative pellet-kettle technology to sustain a heating system for the entire building that achieves an Energy Performance Coefficient (EPC) of 0.2. Amsterdam’s first pellet-burner can be seen in action through a window on the southwest corner of the building.

The courtyard’s showpiece is a 8m lime-tree. It inspired the wonderful gate, built by artist Aliki van der Kruijs, which stands tall between street and courtyard. This filigree artwork carries the name ‘Tilia patina,’ referring doubly to the lime-tree’s Latin name, Tilia, and to the patented bronze of the work’s branch-structure.

Nick Myall

News Editor

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