Originally, this site featured a double warehouse, which together with the other warehouses on the Brouwersgracht, formed one massive, monumental wall. After a fire at the end of the 19th century, the building was replaced by a two-layer commercial building, which did not blend in at all with the remaining high structure warehouses.
The project to replace this building, which housed a tailor’s workshop, by five layers of residential accommodation, offered the opportunity to restore the canal wall. Housing requires quite different conditions than warehouses. The brief included a formal continuation of the warehouses, whilst simultaneously making it visually evident that this building was not a warehouse, but were rather an accumulation of luxury apartments. The design consisted of a residential building of five layers, of the same size and depth as the warehouse that used to stand on the site. The façade design is an interpretation of the typical front elevation of an Amsterdam warehouse. A study of Amsterdam warehouse types (‘Die alten Lagerhauser Amsterdams’ by Magda Revesz-Alexander) closely informed the design development. While most double warehouse façades consist of two groups of three openings – each consisting of a central band of large openings with small flanking windows to both sides – in this façade a total of five vertical rows of openings has been applied. As a result, this façade, instead of consisting of the usual six bays, consists of five; two wide bays, including ceiling-high arched windows across the five layers, alternating with three narrow bays with smaller circular and rectangular windows. The series of opening created to the centre of the building’s façade reveal that there is no structural wall between these two large windows; instead, this is a doublewide building with very large residential apartments. Halfway through the very deep building, a light well had been inserted. To facilitate access to as much daylight as possible from the front, the flanking windows on both sides of the high arched windows have been placed in a way that is different from traditional warehouses; the circular windows are located at floor level, while the rectangular windows are placed very high. The variation of circular, rectangular and arched windows creates a ‘hallucinating’ façade , modeled after the front elevation of the warehouse housing the Amsterdam Academy of Architecture. The multitude of windows is further accentuated by lintels of moulded brick, adding to their appearance as elements freely hanging in the façade.
[A] Sjoerd Soeters
[P] 5 apartments
[G] 1,588 m2
[C] Gerose Project Ontwikkeling