Carrousels for elderly residents
In the austere modernist layout of Van Eesteren’s General Extension Plan in North Amsterdam, we designed three freestanding, horseshoe-shaped, pavilion-like buildings on the edge of the green zone alongside the A10 motorway. Each contains roughly 90 dwellings for elderly occupants. Seen from the motorway, the sculptural grouping evokes a picture of cheerful carrousels – an image emphasized by the tapering, forward-leaning concrete facades. The forward inclination is a result of the varying size of the units, which range from 70 to 90 square metres in floor area. It also reduces staining of the facade by rain.
Both the urban context and the specified requirements for the project led us to opt for a concentric plan. The aim was to promote social contact among the residents and to make each block accessible by both a lift and a staircase, so avoiding long walking routes. On each storey, six units are grouped around a lightwell. The kitchens face inwards (contact) and the living rooms outwards (privacy). The omission of the seventh unit gives the lightwell a panoramic view of the polder countryside beyond the motorway. The internal opening of the block is shaped like a seven-blade iris diaphragm. The galleries taper from wide (wheelchair turning circle) to narrow in a configuration which is staggered from floor to floor. Looking up, your gaze is drawn into a turbulence recalling an M.C. Escher painting. The architecture is just the start: the residents will bring the inner zones to life with flower boxes and birdcages in the galleries. They will turn every day into a giornata particolare.
Amerbos Amsterdam NL
Three courtyards with homes for seniors, with facades that tilt forward, resulting in differentiation in the size of homes. Panorama homes with parapets of varying height: lower to the living room and higher to the bedrooms. Contact with the neighbours is facilitated by the intimacy of the courtyard with its meandering galleries.