Amsterdam is one of the most sought cities in Europe by travel enthusiasts. From Manila, one would need to take around 14 hours of non-stop flight to reach the city. It is usually coined as the “Venice of the North” because of the vast number of canals present in the area. Aside from the canals, the city is also known for its breathtaking tulip farms, the museums of famous people such as Van Gogh and Anne Frank, the bike riding culture, and its historical and contemporary architecture. In terms of urban planning, the city of Amsterdam continues to innovate, striving for Smart City 3.0, while also nurturing heritage conservation on existing architectural wonders.

Ample setbacks are applied at the upper floors catering natural light to be possible at street level.

One of Amsterdam’s new city developments is the new mixed-use neighborhood of Overhoeks. It used to be under the Shell Technology Center territory nearby the IJ river and its name was derived from the 1965 office blocks in the area. After banning oil companies at the end of the 19th century, only two buildings remained, and the rest were allotted to new commercial and residential developments, such as The Line Housing Complex. Designed by Orange Architects, the 72-unit apartment building resembles that of a moored cruised ship as it fronts onto the IJ waterway, being situated on the north bank of the waterway and is opposite the Amsterdam Central Station. “Due to the density of the development in the district, providing sufficient daylight at street level was a key design objective. Setbacks on the upper floors ensure good daylight conditions on the lower floors,” shares the design team led by Bas Kegge.

The façade exhibits dynamism and vibrancy in a subtle and unique way. From the outside, it is evident that all the apartments have its own private veranda, finished with expressive ceiling made of thin concrete, creating a seamless extension of the interiors, that the residents can enjoy. These verandas are vertically supported by the high-strength concrete slender columns of about 880 in total count and are horizontally connected by the 7-centimeter thin balcony railings, forming a grid that’s similar to a veil covering all sides of the building. 

Behind this veil-like skin is another layer of skin that is wrapped around the exterior walls of the apartment building. These are the articulated vertical aluminum profiles that are anodized with a light shade of gold. What’s amazing about this vibrant color is the dynamic appearance created from the different tones and shadows displayed as the sun shines through the building. 

On the ground floor are three main lobbies where the upper floors can be accessed, one on the center and two are beside the end units. These entrance halls are finished with high grade oak paneling and dark colored floor tiles which is contrasted with white perforated ceiling giving the residents a warm cozy feeling echoing that of the hotels. The upper floors, the last 3 floors, are slightly reduced to ensure maximum daylight at street remains possible. An underground car park is available for the residents, and this also supports the shared courtyard garden where residents can also hang out from time to time.

The veil-like grid skin accentuates more the playful shadows and tones the light shaded gold aluminum walls displays especially during daylight.

Completed in 2021, The Line apartment building is also built from sustainable range of materials that secures it of having a long building life span. Most of its façade components can be removed, recycled, and installed back again whenever necessary. The residential units are linked to a shared thermal storage facility, which allows cooling in summer and heating in winter. What’s more, the communal garden also contributes to the biodiversity and well-being of the residents.

Article Credits: Drawings and courtesy of Orange Architects; Images courtesy of Sebastian van Damme ©

Download this month's BLUPRINT magazine digital copy from:
Subscribe via [email protected]