|Architect||Sambeek & Van Veen Architects|
|Project name||Leeuwenhoek cluster|
|Contractor||Van Ursem Construction Group|
Leeuwenhoek Cluster: nominated for the Amsterdam New Construction Prize 2007
The Leeuwenhoek cluster in the nineteenth-century Swammerdambuurt consists of eighteen new family homes at three different locations. The position and autonomy of the three units have created a new cohesion in the fragmented environment of new construction and renovation from various periods. This cohesion can be felt on an architectural, urban and landscape level. The design not only reverses the situation within the block around Leeuwenhoekstraat, turning the rear into a space with the character of a courtyard, but has an impact far beyond it. The elaboration of the three building units is inspired by the typology that is common in this neighborhood: stacking of a ground floor and an upstairs apartment, both of which have their front doors on the street. Next to the front door of the ground floor apartment is a large glass facade, set in a bluestone frame, behind which the living kitchens are situated. The three floors above, in accordance with the neighboring buildings, each have three high windows equally spaced from each other. The facades are finished with an abstracted aluminum cornice. A striking feature is the use of purple brick with tiled masonry. The wooden doors and frames, high windows and natural stone plinths give the whole a stately appearance. With this, the existing city has been completed without lapsing into a repetition of the existing one.
Het Parool about Leeuwenhoekcluster: Children's paradise in the middle of the city
Five of the ten housing projects competing for the New Construction Prize are blocks that have been 'knitted' into the existing old town. The Leeuwenhoek cluster is a good example. In Leeuwenhoekstraat, Eerste Boerhaavestraat and Swammerdamstraat, a nineteenth-century neighborhood in Oost / Watergraafsmeer, nine new homes have been built between the existing buildings, each with a double-lower house and a double upper house. The residents are very happy with the result; they gave an average of 9 as a report mark. Not only for their home, but also for the playground that was created by closing Leeuwenhoekstraat to traffic: “A children's paradise in the middle of the city.” They owe this to the conviction of Erna van Sambeek of Van Sambeek and Van Veen Architecten in Amsterdam. “The place plays a very important role,” explains the designer. “Instead of a street with fences, there had to be an attractive courtyard, an oasis of tranquility. The district has played a very good role in this. ” Moreover, she consciously chose not to demolish the entire neighborhood, but rather to have parts renovated and to put new construction in between. This was done in good cooperation with the client, De Principaal. “The power of the plan is very clearly in its coherence.” For example, she decided not to build apartments, but family homes, in the middle of the city, with a good outdoor space. “The kitchens on the street contribute to the liveliness,” says Van Sambeek, “and the terraces at the rear are elevated on the square.” Nicole Frank (42) lives with her husband and children aged five and seven in a ground floor apartment. At the end of 2005, she paid 342,500 euros for 120 square meters of living space and a backyard. “But we use the courtyard more than the garden,” is her experience. “There is little car traffic, and we are now working on making our street completely car-free when a parking garage for the Amstel Campus will be built nearby.” “It's just a quiet neighborhood in the city,” says Frank. In the square the children play, their parents sit in the sun and barbecues. “But at the same time you have the hustle and bustle of the city nearby, De Pijp, East, the Center, public transport.” Frank and her family lived in the Waterleidingwijk in Westerpark, but their eighty-square-meter apartment became too small. “We also looked at IJburg, but I thought the population was too monoculture there.” The houses are characterized by a bluestone facade on the ground floor and masonry above, all with large windows. “I wanted sustainable materials,” explains architect Van Sambeek. “I applied that on a powerful scale.” The jury was impressed. “This fits in very well,” said Gert-Jan van Rooij. “This is convincing. Here is not something that was already there. ” And Pablo Herrera, an architect himself, praised the quality he perceived. Ans van der Hall caught the eye of the high ceilings below, which the residents often mention in their survey forms as a great plus. They are also very pleased with the incidence of light. Noteworthy is the lack of a hall or vestibule: you literally fall off the street with the door in the house, here in the kitchen diner