de Albatros / HVDN

@ Luuk Kramer
@ Luuk Kramer

Architects: HVDN
Location: Amsterdam,
Design Team: Albert Herder, Vincent Van der Klei, Jean-Marc Saurer
Project Team: Albert Herder, Jean-Marc Saurer, Rodger Van Leeuwen
Structural Engineering: Jean-Marc Saurer
Client: Van Der Waal, Vlaardingen
Project Year: 2006
Budget: € 18.100.000
Photographs: John Lewis Marshall & Luuk Kramer

@ John Lewis Marshall @ Luuk Kramer @ John Lewis Marshall @ Luuk Kramer


The area around the van Hasseltweg in Amsterdam Noord is to be developed, setting large urban scale projects amongst the existing small ‘garden-village’ housing estates. The planning activity is concentrated around the location of the new noord/zuidlijn metro station and the Albatros is the first of the projects to come on stream.

situation plan
situation plan


The most important challenge in designing the Albatros was reconciling the confrontation between the scales of the new large developments and that of the surrounding housing. In order that the building would not act as a huge barrier within the neighbourhood, it was decided to ‘break it up’ by dividing it into four tower-like fins arranged on a base or plinth.

@ John Lewis Marshall
@ John Lewis Marshall

This plinth contains all the commercial and community orientated services and is equal in height to the neighbouring structures. The 130 dwellings are housed in the four fins above. The internal layouts and the elevational treatment allow for different typologies to be stacked above each other. The fins also ensure that every dwelling has a corner aspect to make optimal use of the available views and daylight. The building as a whole has the appearance of a large scale sculpture.


At ground level, the entrances to the residential accommodation are designed as visual links between the street and the internal gardens. These links, combined with the relatively shallow depth of the plinth, allow sunlight to reach the north side of the building while simultaneously reducing the perception its overall length.

@ Luuk Kramer
@ Luuk Kramer

Communal moss and lichen gardens are planted between wooden terraces to the south of the building with openings in the ground allowing daylight to filter through to the garage below. At night these areas are illuminated atmospherically by suspended coloured lamps. The corridors to the lift and the stairwells flank the gardens increasing their impact within the development.

Cite: "de Albatros / HVDN" 09 Dec 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 29 May 2015. <>
  • gbot

    looks a little depressing

  • hafiz fazillah

    i concur

  • nick

    I concur, big time.
    Imagine this under the usual lead grey skies of Holland, with the usual drizzle…

    Especially when comapared with this housing development in Rotterdam:

    • INawe

      Nah… don’t like either development. Your article’s project is too New Urbanism for my liking. How about something more contemporary?

    • The J

      It’s actually not at all depressing. Even when seeing it “under the usual lead grey skies of Holland”…
      It is a good project, fitting the site and area very well.

      PS.: and no, I do not work for HVDN…

  • Bo

    very poor style. Archdaily join this proj to selected works. I don understand.

  • fmH

    may be it is too big, considering surrounding.. but i still like it…

  • Seiji

    so where are these internal gardens they’re talking about?

  • Paula

    very good!

  • sarah

    I’m interested in arch daily .

  • faiegh

    reminds me the Steven Holl’s FUKOUKA HOUSING…but the poor version…