Marilu de Bies
CHILDREN OF THE CITY
A place to live for families in the touristic city centre of Amsterdam
In recent years, the city centre of Amsterdam has been unilaterally aimed at tourists; working and especially living have taken second place. In the meantime, there is a shortage of homes in the city, especially for families, which is currently being solved by creating beautiful and peaceful living environments on the outskirts of Amsterdam. The approach of this plan was that it must be possible to provide families, who want to live in the city centre, with a liveable place, as a liveable city allows for a balanced mix of living, working and tourism.
Following the relocation of the University library, this location on the Singel is converted into a housing block for a hundred families. The building is given a natural spot in the city centre by preserving the monumental Stadsmagazyn that extends over the entire plot, and connects the Singel with the Handboogstraat. In this way, the historic Stadsmagazyn will serve as city street and meeting place. As the raised ‘streets’ of the residential building cut through the Stadsmagazyn, a vibrant space is created at the interface of the residential building and the bustling city centre.
Comfort and a feeling of space remains an important residential aspect for urban families. In addition, they wish to have a residential environment where children can play safely and
where it’s easy to make contact with neighbours. The city is reduced to a conveniently-arranged living environment within the housing block. You imagine yourself to be in a village as the raised residential streets offer large play areas that also serve as an entrance to the homes. These open areas provide the building with light, air and space. The vistas and the horizontal and vertical connections ensure a dynamic residential world where families, but especially children, can play, explore and live at the heart of the city centre. This is the only way that the city centre can become liveable once again and regain its natural balance.
Graduation committee: Marcel van der Lubbe (mentor), Jolijn Valk and Marinus Oostenbrink. Additional members for the exam: Bastiaan Jongerius and Marc a Campo.