- Area: 9300 m²
- Year: 2021
Photographs:Marcel van der Burg, Crispijn van Sas, Stadsarchief Amsterdam
Manufacturers: Hunter Douglas Architectural (Europe), AMG Railing, Boomkwekerij Ebben, Buiting Staal, Hi-Con, Kawneer
Lead Architects: Menno Kooistra, Peter van Gelder
- Design Team: Glenn den Besten, Anna Zan, Carlotta Rabajoli, Wesley Leeman, Brenda Reid
- MEP & HVAC: DWA
- Cost Calculation: Rien Prins
- City: Amsterdam
- Country: The Netherlands
Text description provided by the architects. Office to residential conversion. Once the head office of a national bank, now a residential tower and the starting point of a new vibrant neighborhood Westerpark West in Amsterdam. Elephant has turned city life inside out and changed the classic residential tower for good.
Designed for change with the Coreless circulation. A typical transformation would not have resulted in the ambition of high-quality housing, we decided to split up the core into four and reposition the elevators to the facade. Staircases are placed outside the terraces and become part of the architecture. The former concrete circulation core is remodeled to be used for bathrooms, storage, and technical spaces. Hence we called this new circulation concept Coreless and is now also being used for new residential towers.
Residents share an elevator with just one neighbor per floor. When leaving the elevator, you enter a hallway with a view of the park. The hallway gives direct access to the apartment and their corresponding private terraces. An apartment’s terrace connects to all the individual living spaces. This makes the usage and configurations of the building endless. The Coreless concept results in a very favorable ratio between gross and net floor area. This also has a positive effect on required building materials as well as energy management.
The most sustainable meter is the one that does not have to be built. Huge private terraces are called “Front Gardens”. In addition to the new circulation concept, Elephant proposed three-meter deep terraces along with the building and a new full glass facade. Both elements enhance the apartment's quality greatly.
The newly added terraces together with their functional elements; like staircases, planters, and balustrades, became the main architectural feature. The glass facade became less of an important vehicle of the architecture. This established the basis of a highly flexible facade. Residents were involved in choosing their configuration and are still able to change it now that it has been built.
Multifunctional integrated planters. Throughout the building, 120 trees are scattered over the terraces. Elephant wanted the trees to become one with the experience of the outdoor spaces. This resulted in placing the tree substrate underneath the terrace as the iconic tree-planter columns. The planters are developed in collaboration with vegetation designers, arborists, gardeners, and structural engineers together with the owners’ association.
The containers are equipped with the necessary technology to allow a tree to grow at height. An automatic irrigation system and a gardener take care of maintenance. This intense collaboration resulted in a green building with a proportional maintenance cost of just €30/year maintenance costs per tree.