Row houseSlab, corridorSlab, gallery-access
Rudy Uytenhaak | Amsterdam, Netherlands | 2003
Image of Veltmanstr...
View north on Veltmanstraat, maisonettes below, flats above

ArchitectRudy Uytenhaak
AddressJacques Veltmanstraat 283 1065 DC
Building TypeRow house
Slab, gallery access
Number of Dwellings179
Date Built2003
Dwelling Typesflats, 3-4BR row houses; 4 BR maisonettes
No. Floors2-8
Section Typeflats, town houses
Exterior Finish
brick, cement board, steel, glass
Construction TypeRC frame
Ancillary Servicesparking garage, activity center

The original proposal for this long narrow site along a narrow canal was a row of 4 urban villas with surface parking. By increasing the coverage and density, a parking garage and greater dwelling variety was feasible including two and three-story single-family houses and 4 bedroom maisonettes. In the new configuration, dwellings are arranged in two groups each with three parallel rows of building. Each group consists of a “L” shaped slab that steps from 2 to 8 floors along the street creating flats with south-facing terraces. This block rests on top of a two-story zone of maisonettes that form a base to the building and a two-story high colonnaded entrance lobby at the north end of each building that is entered off a courtyard between buildings. The two other rows of dwellings are two-story and three-story individual row houses between the street slab and the canal.

One of these rows is built over the parking area while the other narrower row is built at grade, at the edge of the canal. These two groups are accessed from the parking space and have modest walled gardens. The maisonettes also have small walled gardens on the interior of the block in addition to the small gardens at the entrance to each dwelling along the sidewalk. A landscaped pedestrian promenade extends the full length of the site along the houses at the canal edge. The dwellings on top of the parking are of a traditional row house type with living spaces on the ground floor and bedrooms above. Several also have a vaulted space on the roof. The canal houses are almost square in plan, three floors high with living spaces at the canal level where there is a small deck area and bedrooms on the two upper floors.

The three linear rows together form a striated zone of multi-level dwellings, pedestrian walks, and enclosed gardens that slip under the 8-story “L” shaped block extending from the water edge to the sidewalk along Veltsmanstraat. This dense zone is detailed in brick and is accessed by auto at the garage level from the courtyards at the end of each slab. This zone is expressed as the entrance in the main building as an open colonnade glazed elevator lobby for each block.

The stepped slabs contain flats each with ample terrace areas both on top of each lower unit but also outside areas cut from the volume of each dwelling along the street façade. Access and exit from these dwelling is via open outside galleries along the east side overlooking the buildings, and landscape below. The elevator core is at the intersection of the legs of the “L”. The small leg of the “L” is expressed on the east as a small tower but the wall materials are continuous around the outside surfaces of the “L”. The east, west, and north walls are treated as flush surfaces except for terraces and balconies. The glass balustrades on the balconies extend out from the wall surface a few inches supported by a secondary structure that continues the balcony height as a zone of glass in front of the actual wall surface. While these horizontal strips of glass serve no obvious functional purpose, the grey wall panels, the subtle differences in the position of the windows, and the balcony glass all contribute to the reflective, crystalline, layered quality of the façades. A deep cornice at the top of the wall is finished in a zone of canted black cement board installed shingle-fashion in a manner reminiscent of traditional Dutch slate roofs. The same material is used for the east wall of the “L”

The extreme linearity and striated nature of the site, the elevated rail tracks, the rows of trees along the east side of the canal, the canal itself, and the long open site seem the be the controlling emphasis of the design and the genesis of the multi-zoned, strips of building, and the interlocking nature of the different rows of houses. The terracing concept of the tall block is critical for letting sunlight into the interior of the block and to the garden areas of the maisonettes and larger row houses that open to the interior. The sectional idea of the masonry plinth results in some of the best spaces in the project and is a skillful solution to the problem of off-street parking. Increasing the number of dwellings from 120 apartments to 179 dwellings that includes 70 single-family multi –story residences made the section possible.

Uytenhaak, Rudy, , 010 Publishers, Rotterdam, 2008, pp. 64-67

List all by: Project Name | Architect | Building Type | City | Country

©2002 Roger Sherwood. All Rights Reserved