K.W. CHRISTIAANSE, WEST 8 I.S.M. DIVERSE ARCHITECTEN, 1993-1997, Haarlemmerweg/Van Hallstraat e.o., Amsterdam
Woningbouw GWL-terrein / Housing GWL-site ( K.W. Christiaanse, West 8 i.s.m. diverse architecten )
© 2006 Jan Derwig
A compact 'eco-estate' of 600 houses of great diversity now occupies the former site of the Municipal Water Board. A number of the original company buildings were retained, together with the water tower. Two long, meandering apartment buildings lie along the edges of the estate. The central area is dotted with small discrete blocks scaled to the adjoining existing development and sited so as to guarantee a number of essential lines of vision. The open space between the blocks has been given the maximum 'green' treatment. Privet hedges draw the gardens, allotments, playgrounds and facilities together into 'islands' whose limits are well-defined in places and more flexible in others. The blocks were allocated to five architects to flesh out. These turned to new solutions particularly as regards unit access. Neutelings' block takes the ground access principle to an extreme, with all 15 units of the six split-level storeys reached from a raised external gallery on the first floor. Meyer & Van Schooten experiment with raised central walkways. In one of the tall peripheral blocks Kees Christiaanse suspends a 'living-street' at fifth-floor level. DKV for their part slot double-height 'patio gardens' into the western peripheral block and add a string of gardens on its gently raked roof.