Industrial Densification Regeneration

Transformation of a former Amsterdam dockland into a high-density neighbourhood

A former dock area along the banks of Amsterdam’s IJ waterway is transformed into a high-density residential and business area. On the site gigantic warehouses are a reminder of the time when the area was still a functioning port. Some have fallen into disuse and are dilapidated, while others have been thoroughly renovated and given a new lease on life. In between these historic warehouses, new blocks form a differentiated complex of interlocking buildings that maintain the views to the IJ. The complex accommodates a mixed program, ranging from offices and live/work lofts to luxury apartments and subsidized rental housing. The buildings stand on a shared base containing a car park, and the entrances are set along a narrow, oblong plaza which creates a connecting spine between old and new. As well as drawing up the urban development plan, KCAP designed the car park and two of the four sculptural blocks.

The City of Amsterdam has long wanted to develop the area along the IJ into a lively urban area linking Central Station and the new residential areas on two other former dockland sites, Java Isl...

  • Oosterveem, Heijmans IBC Vastgoedontwikkeling
  • 1998 - 2009
  • Completed
  • 9.100 m2 urban plan area 10.000 m2 'Huys Azië' 7.350 m2 'Huys Afrika' 11.500 m2 parking garage
  • Architecture
  • Supervision
  • Urban Planning
  • Claus en Kaan Architecten, Amsterdam
  • Blok A+C: De Architecten Cie., Amsterdam
  • Renovation: Villa Nova, Rotterdam
  • Open space: Juurlink & Geluk, Rotterdam
  • Amsterdamse Architectuur Prijs, Nomination (2010)
  • The De Pakhuysen site was divided into four ‘construction fields’ in which most of the buildings interlock and partially overlap resulting in an interrupted but varied strip of construction with views to the IJ. Of the three old warehouses on the site, Europa was demolished, while Afrika and Azië have been retained. Azië had already been renovated by Meyer & Van Schooten and is now known as Pakhuis Amsterdam. The Afrika warehouse has been renovated by Villa Nova to a commission from KCAP, and Building D partially interlocks with it, as well as extending over and above it. The whole ensemble stands on a shared base containing one large car park. The space on top of this substructure is a plaza that acts as a connecting element between the buildings and on which most of the entrances are set. The complex accommodates a mixed programme, ranging from offices and live/work lofts to luxury apartments and subsidized rental housing. At ground level a double-height zone with internal mezzanine levels provides space for urban functions.

    Building B, known as House Asia, consists of two sections. A large, L-shaped brick volume sits on a low-rise block that gives the impression of being a stripped-down old warehouse. Both sections are in fact new, and as a combination of two architectural volumes with different dimensions and material execution they fit well with the character of the buildings on the rest of the site. The low-rise section was constructed using steel and glass, and has generously proportioned windows. The brick portion changes from heavy and massive at ground level to transparent higher up, an effect achieved by a gradual transformation in the articulation of the fenestration. The windows on the lower levels are elongated and narrow, while those above become progressively wider. The top four floors have the widest fenestration and also have wrap-around windows which lend the building a lightweight and airy appearance. Besides acting as supervisor for this project, KCAP also designed the car park and two of the buildings (B and D) and was responsible for the overall technical coordination. The architects of the other two buildings were de Architekten Cie. and Claus en Kaan. The public space was designed by Juurlink & Geluk.