Rotterdam, NL | Amsterdam, NL
Two peninsulas in the eastern docklands of Amsterdam, once the scene of busy harbour activities, have been redeveloped as residential areas in accordance with a master plan drawn up by West 8/Adriaan Geuze.
Most of the housing on these two islands, Borneo and Sporenburg, consists of ground-accessed low-rise. Of the approximately two thousand dwellings built here, Claus en Kaan have realized 194 on 5 locations on Sporenburg.
The starting point for the design was the list of requirements laid down in the brief to the effect that the dwellings should follow the contours of the plot and that within the built contour, fifty per cent of the area should be left open as outdoor space. Another requirement was that the ground floor should be 3.5 metres high. As a result, each house occupies the entire plot and has only one facade, that facing the street.
Claus en Kaan searched for an archetype suitable for the long, narrow plots laid down by the master plan. They found it in a back-to-back dwelling with two basic forms that allow for a great many variations. The design is a systematic exploration of possible differences, in which spatial configurations and front facades are combined in a variety of ways.
The separation between inside and outside, which is emphasized in nearly all of Claus en Kaan’s designs, is carried to extremes here. The constellation of living rooms, voids, patios and roof terraces is impossible to fathom from the outside. As such, the architects’ contribution is an impeccable realization of Geuze’s desire for an image of uniform clarity, without any ‘dubious semi-public zones, obstacles or front gardens. Just houses and streets.’
Location: Amsterdam, NL
My Role: Architect