Huys Afrika Amsterdam [NL]

Along the banks of the river IJ in Amsterdam, the former dockland has been transformed into a high-density residential and working area. On the site known as De Pakhuysen (The Warehouses) along 'Oostelijke Handelskade', old warehouses and new blocks form a differentiated complex of interlocking buildings that preserve the views through to the IJ. The buildings stand on a shared base containing a car park, and the entrances are set along a narrow, oblong public space. As well as drawing up the urban development plan, KCAP designed the car park and two of the four sculptural blocks.

One of them, the apartment building 'Huys Afrika' (House Africa) has been designed as a periscope that overlooks the old Afrika warehouse in the direction of the river, with respect to the cruise-ship terminal. The original Afrika warehouse has been renovated and houses offices and commercial functions.

The facade of Huys Afrika is made of rust-coloured prefabricated concrete elements that form a ‘fabric’ and emphasise the sculptural properties of the volume. This choice of colour works well with the industrial atmosphere.

The northern façade, which faces the river, has been tilted up and is in its entirety constructed of glass. This double façade forms a barrier to the noisy ships. Due to the disturbing noise levels from the adjacent railway line, the other façades are to be made of extra thick glazed elements.

Client Heijmans IBC Vastgoedontwikkeling, Almere-Stad
Program 7.350 m2 residential building with 52 apartments
Time 2000 – 2009
Role Architect of Huys Afrika and Huys Azië (office building), urban planner and supervisor of Oostelijke Handelskade compartment C
Participating parties Claus en Kaan Architecten; de Architecten Cie (block A + C); Villa Nova (renovation existing warehouse Afrika); Juurlink & Geluk (public space)