Text description provided by the architects. The starting point of the project was formulated according to the urban program: a new multifunctional building in congruity to the existing old warehouses a firm structure with flexible principles of living and working an expressive head for the row of warehouses the continuation of the views from the city towards the Harbour a square along the water as an important public space the realization of extra parking spaces for the neighbourhood
The program consisted of 4000 m² of housing, 4000 m² of offices and a parking garage with 250 places. A ground floor area of 35 x 45 meters with four stories and a vertical accent on the head of the building consisting of 8 stories.
The project is situated along the South quay of the IJ and forms a multiform space together with the Barentszplein, the Silodam and the Stenen Hoofd . The Kop van Diemenstraat plays a strategic role in this urban context. The volume of the building is stretched in such a way that the Barentszplein becomes spatially defined. The building is partly lifted to reveal important views between the harbour and the city, while the sunken square beneath offers an interesting public space along the water. From the harbour-side the view towards the Northside of the IJ is continued. The street façade is continued and the head of the building forms a specific stature on the site.
The 'Barentszplein' is a square for the neighbourhood and functions as a playground for children, while the square in front of the building has a more urban function for the harbour, warehouses and the Silodam. It consists of two parts, namely one underneath the lifted volume and an oblique square that slopes into the water. The entrance of the building is situated on the square underneath the building and is depressed by one meter underneath street level. The height-difference of the square together with the staircase and the ramps towards the parking garage separate the heavily used road from the square. The covered square is materialised in granite tiles. The oblique square on the other hand is materialised in granite stones and grass zones and laid out with public benches and trees.
The program consists of 41 selling apartments and 6 social rental apartments (4.289 m² ), 20 units of office spaces (2010 m² ) and parking-garage with 194 spaces. The parking-garage consists of 2 stories, one storey for the neighbourhood and one for the building itself.
In similarity to the warehouses the building has a firm structure, which can incorporate different schemes. The main entrance is located underneath the lifted volume. In relation to efficiency, changeability and social security the organization of the building is basically designed. The basis of the building enhances two contra nooses connected to a central staircase that organizes the whole building. The parking-garage is accessible through ramps from the 'Silodam'. In relation to orientation, noise pollution of the traffic and the windy local climate, a greater part of the dwellings has a solarium as an outside space. The office spaces are situated on the street side and are laid out over three stories, the ground floor units are accessible from the 'van Diemenstraat'.
The extraordinary measurements of the apartments and office spaces, the width of 7,5 meters and the spacious internal height of 3,1 meters, make a large diversity of flexible and interchangeable housing and office spaces possible. In this way the dwellings and office space are not only organized together but as well typological interwoven with each other. The width of 7,5 meters also enables three parking spaces. The courtyard is 10 meter wide, together with the depth of the apartments on both sides make an efficient parking depth of 32 meters with two lanes and 4 parking spaces. The flexible plan of the housing makes a variety of housing schemes possible, like 'doorzon', diagonal and front- back situation. Within the partitioning wall a core of 1,2 meters is designed to combine office units.
The standard apartments have an internal surface of 80 m² . The specific apartments and office spaces have a surface of 105-110-130-145-155 m² . These apartments and office spaces are situated in the plinth, upper floors on the water side and corner positions. Apartments of two stories are designed as maisonette or city lofts. All apartments have an internal height of 3,1 meters and in specific situations up to 5 meters height.
The choice for prefabrication of the building is made because the site conditions, the intensively used road and the location along the water. Without scaffolding the building and facade can be fabricated with a crane situated in the courtyard of the building. The concrete sandwich elements have the measurements of one apartment. The cloqué forms a continuous pattern wrapped around the building. The pattern of lines dividing the panels in facet discontinues the repetition of the elements. The diagonal seam of 10 mm in depth runs over the facet-shaped concrete elements dividing the upper part which is polished and the lower part which is finished with acid. This produces a variety in representation of the facade that reacts to weather conditions. The concrete elements can be produced along the assembly line through the specific proportion of the division by 1/3 to 1/2 or 1/2 to 2/3. With a minimal formwork a maximum of variety is achieved. The intention of the research for the materialization was such that the inevitable pollution does not diminish the quality of the facade but forms a natural patina. In contrast to the outside which reflects to the harbor, the inside is materialized in wood-slats to reflect the more intimate nature of the space.
The outside spaces of the apartments on the 'van Diemenstraat' are designed as solariums in relation to the sound pollution. In this way the dwellings can be ventilated naturally and additional installation was reduced, which improves the maintenance and investment costs.