KCAP designs OKU House in Fashion District Amsterdam-West18.08.2021
KCAP's urban plan for Koningin Wilhelminaplein Noord is part of a densification plan for the Fashion District in Amsterdam West, the area above the A10 ring road and within walking distance of the Lelylaan station. Across three office complexes from the 1960s and ‘70s, Berghaus, The Fashion House, and Modrôme, five slender volumes will be placed as a 'district upon a district'. The residences, including publicly accessible areas and neighbourhood enhancing facilities, nearly triple the available space above ground level to approximately 90.000 m². Besides the urban plan, KCAP is responsible for the integral landscape design and the architectural design of the OKU House above and next to Fashion House; in a later phase also for the renovation of that building. Within KCAP's urban plan, MVSA Architects are involved in the renovation and expansion of Berghaus.
OKU House by KCAP is, in fact, an addition to the Fashion House, offering 324 housing units for rent. It consists of two volumes, one sitting on top of Fashion House, the other floating on W-columns between Fashion House and Berghaus. A lush green garden under the floating building is part of three shared areas above the half-sunken car parks. These offer different qualities: from a sheltered green garden partially below OKU House to a lively urban square between the plinths of Fashion House, OKU House, and Berghaus, and an inviting and green waterfront with stepped terraces on the waterfront. A continuous carpet of paving creates a recognisable urban area and connects all the functions on the ground floor of the buildings. Its decorative brickwork pays homage to the Amsterdam tradition and the history of the district, dominated by the World Fashion Centre and its related business. The raised ground level is connected to the surroundings by means of ramps, staircases and a new bridge. The project is climate-adaptive: rainwater will be locally collected and retained in specially designed infiltration strips and underground water buffers. Existing and more than 60 new mature trees and 2.000 m2 of planting provide for more biodiversity and an improved microclimate.
The facade design of OKU House enforces the idea of a building standing on its feet on the ground and with its head in the clouds. This image is supported by slender panels in warm, bronze-coloured aluminum, creating a grid that slowly opens towards the top. The plinth is porous and eases the accessibility to the mixed-use program hosted there. Balconies over the entire longitudinal façade allow the new residents to enjoy the view over the neighbourhood. The housing units on the north side are equipped with sound-isolating ventilation to guarantee acoustic comfort. Underground parking and bike parking on ground level complete the program of OKU House as part of a development already standing out as an essential upgrade for Amsterdam West: a densification with respect of the past and a connecting link to its surroundings that adds new homes and neighborhood qualities to the Fashion District.
Now, real estate developer Boelens de Gruyter has sold the 324 homes in OKU House to housing corporation Stadgenoot and pension investor Syntrus Achmea, on behalf of pension fund PME. The construction of OKU House will start this month and is expected to be completed by Dura Vermeer Bouw Midden West in the first quarter of 2024.