30 May, 2017 | By Dimitry
Inspired by the concept of creating a new housing model within which people renovate their apartments by themselves, Dutch studios NL Architects and XVW Architectuur have renovated one of the largest apartment buildings in the Netherlands, restoring the repetitive gridded facades of the 1960s block but leaving the flats bare for residents to customise.
The project rescued the massive building from the wracking ball by turning it into a “Klusflat,” a Dutch saying for “Handyflat,” which translates from Dutch as do it yourself.
The Bijlmermeer building was designed in the sixties by Dutch architect Fop Ottenhof as part of Siegfried Nassuth’s masterplan for a site to the southeast of Amsterdam. It aimed to provide better accommodation for those living in the city’s deteriorating neighbourhoods.
But recently the building had became dilapidated, putting it at risk of demolition. In 2011, protests sparked a competition that called for an economically viable plan to renovate the complex.
This project is an outstanding example of a brilliant recovery. Considered to be imposing by some of its critics, the repetitive, closed off exterior of the housing complex was also revamped in order to ‘humanise the architecture’.
The balustrades were sandblasted to reveal the pre-cast concrete, and opaque elements of the facade were replaced with glazing.
A catalogue of various frameworks offers residents the option to choose the appearance of this glazing, from sliding doors to recessed frames that make space for plants.
“By many, repetition was perceived as evil. Most attempts to renovate residential slabs in the Bijlmer had focused on differentiation, the objective, presumably, to get rid of the uniformity, to ‘humanise’ the architecture,” said the architects.
“But after two decades of individualisation, fragmentation, atomisation it seemed an attractive idea to actually strengthen unity: Revamp the whole!” they continues. “It became time to embrace what is already there: to reveal and emphasise the intrinsic beauty, to sublimise!”Show properties in South-East