LocationAlkmaar, The Netherlands
From the architect. The district Overdie in the renowned cheese city of Alkmaar is being restructured. This project is to renew the Plaza, the heart of the neighborhood. The urban plan of Kraaijvanger-Urbis defines the new square with some grand gestures. The building on the west side is to be maintained. To the east and to the north, existing buildings, including a church, are demolished. Two major projects with some height accents come in its place. Phase one is the building "De Entree", on the north side of the new Square.
The program for this building is a mix of affordable market apartments and social housing, including assisted living facilities. The ground floor houses commercial spaces and in the eastern flank on the lower two layers a health center. The architecture strives for an optimistic approach that fits the postwar buildings. Parking is at ground level, behind the new building.
The situation is clear: a parking lot on the north side, the lively Geert Grote Square south of the building. Combined with the program for accessible housing this determines the choice for the typology: a central core in the high part of the building with galleries that are included within the building volume.
In relation to the great length of the building, the given size of the high building part is not sufficient to really be able to make a tower. We make an a-symmetric cut below the upper building element. It’s this gesture that gives the building a unique form and offers a good marking of the entrance. The facades of each part of the building are designed with little differences in rythm and detail, giving each side of the building it’s own character. Special attention is paid to the ambivalent character of the facade on the side of the main square. This formal side of the square is at the same time the sunny side for the apartments. The spacious balconies with colored glass soften the transition between public and private. These colors return in a modest way on the gallery side of the project. The car park will be planted.