In Progress: Blok K / NL Architects

NL ArchitectsBlok K is part of a master plan for 500 dwellings in .  The site’s triangular shape sits between the historic center and the recently redeveloped harbor area.   The block measures 31 x 28 meters and is about 2.5 stories tall.   According to the guidelines established in the master plan, it was obligatory to build the first two stories in alignment and the third story had to contain 50% roof terrace.  The volume’s form is “redistributed” in an effort to push it as far away as possible from the adjacent volumes.  The roof’s strong diagonal stands as a bold contrast to the orthogonal grid.

More about the block and more images after the break.

The units in the block are organized according to “the back to back principle” and are accessed from an aisle in the middle of the block.  With front doors positioned to the back, the houses “are turned inside out.”  Components like water and gas meters are pushed toward the hallways and stairs in the darker zones of the apartments, so the facades can benefit from light and the view of the park.

While all the units are stretched or compressed, either in height of length, they still maintain a 630m3 space per dwelling.  ”The process of the standard building bay as an organizational tool of construction became elastic” to create a conglomeration of  unique units.



As seen on designboom.  All images by 

Cite: Cilento, Karen. "In Progress: Blok K / NL Architects" 20 Apr 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 30 May 2015. <>
  • raphael

    pourquoi faire simple quand on peut faire compliqué?


  • Ballista Magazine

    The roof of this project is dominant and stunning; however, it seems odd that such a prominent and successful formal feature of the project was not discussed at all in the narrative. I want to know more! Why the swoop?

    There are some good things going on here…conceptually, I like the idea of the “elastic box” that maintains volume while allowing flexibility of plan and elevation. I do question, however, the decision to internalize the infrastructure. It functions well with regard to light accessibility and the aesthetics of the facade, I just wonder how it performs with regard to maintenance and upkeep (see Pompidou haha). Those things aren’t “fun” from a design perspective, but they are integral architectural components that require a level of accessibility. I won’t go too far into it, but there are successful examples of large-scale buildings that heavily internalize their infrastructure?

    It will be very interesting to see this project come to fruition…let’s see more in the future!

    • Hungaro

      You are the best, so wise and brigh. I really want to know you, you are just amazing…

  • hZ!

    Bravo. This is really beautiful, except for the utility units that project from the roof, which are, I suppose, a necessary evil. I’d be surprised if people smart enough to make such as lovely elegant design hadn’t factored in functionality just as elegantly. I hope all the occupants will enjoy the inside of this building as much as I’m enjoying the outside.

  • NEW

    Roof balconies remind me of Diller and Scofidio and Renfro’s Macallen Building. However, it seems as if the u shape doesn’t work quite as well as the simple angle in the Macallen Building.

    • blackstone

      The Macallen Building was designed by Office dA.

      Where are the floor plans?

  • karen prinsloo

    Great concept and application – alot of interesting detail too. Some stained glass details and odd balcony to the South wall exterior could add more.
    Hope you do many more similar – Keep them coming!

  • Nicholas Patten

    In Progress: Blok K.

  • arnold

    yes, this is interesting complicated project. I think it’s really hard to complete all projection details.

    for me this house interesting for two reasons:
    1) intersting, soft and nice building shape;
    2) the planing – living structure.

    if here wouldn’t be such dense building (neighbourhood living buildings), I’d like to live in this building..

    In the roof terraces would very fit Trees.

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  • Banc

    It really is too bad that the shape of the roof is only experienced (internally) on the upper floor, which basically removes the lower floor from the parti of the building.

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