The Marcanti Island is a secluded, triangular area in Amsterdam-West that was largely built up with staggered rows of houses in the late 1970s. The original plan, designed by Sier van Rhijn, was symmetrical in layout but remained partly unfinished, because an old temporary school and sport halls still stood on the site.
The brief called for giving this striking spot in the city an identity and expanding it with housing and a new school. It was decided to complete the design from the 1970s. Demolishing the old school and the sport halls created space to add two linked four-storey housing strips, literally in keeping with Van Rhijn’s architecture. The Marcanti College was built in the same idiom in the curve of the Jan van Galenstraat, a stepped school building with an atrium in the middle. The school, like the new residential buildings, dovetail with the existing urban-design typology: it mirrors the block structure around the axis of the island and completes the originally intended symmetry.
On the axis of the triangular island, perpendicular to the Jan van Galenstraat, space was created for a high and large building. The first design for this building consisted of a single pyramidal tower, 75 metres high. The city found this too tall, and so instead of one tall tower, two shorter, interlocking triangular towers with stepped sides were created. They stand on a raised plaza with a parking garage underneath.
The pyramidal shape of the towers mirrors the triangular shape of the island. The towers also give the Marcanti Island a symbol that refers to the Berlage urban design in the vicinity, in which at crucial points the normal height of four to five storeys is interrupted by a tall building.
The Pyramids are different on every side. The stepped sides gave the apartments amazing terraces. The stepped shape also makes for a good transition to the surrounding four-storey dwellings. The shoulders of the building are the same height as the existing buildings, and from there the towers increase in distance and height. This makes them less dominant.
[A] Sjoerd Soeters
[P] 82 apartments & parking garage
[G] 11,513 m2 apartments; 4,341 m2 garage
[C] AM Wonen, Regio Noord-Nederland