Joris Gesink

Joris Gesink



Mixing high-rise functions to enhance social and accessible living 


This project arose from a fascination with making the living environment more public and accessible in its varying gradations. How architecture can contribute to a more social, diverse, and accessible living environment. The outlined vision of the municipality of Amsterdam for the Zuidas matched these interests. The focus lies on high-rise buildings, mixed-use, and a high-quality residential environment. Components that are extremely suitable for investigating a more accessible living environment. But what does this look like?   

In a typological study of high-rise buildings in relation to facilities in their immediate environment, we see that the dynamics of the city are lost in high-rise buildings. These residential buildings are inaccessible fortresses that close themselves off from the public environment. Access is the weak point of high-rise buildings; the elevator and central hall form a non-moment. These are often without any visual and spatial qualities, and you rarely meet anyone, increasing the distance between the home and the city.  

This is because buildings are set up from a one-dimensional urban plan. While the urban planning of a metropolis should be seen as a multi-dimensional structure. It is important to let the buildings be part of this network so that they contribute to urban living.   

In my view, this accessibility has the potential to increase the quality of high-rise buildings, being the transitional area between the individual and the collective.

The goal should be a district where there are no closed enclaves in the fabric but an open structure where the city feels like a more porous and accessible environment. Multifunctional buildings should contribute to enhancing the sense of proximity. The ability to be part of something — the charm of living in an urban context.    

So how can architecture contribute to a more social, diverse, and accessible living environment?   

As a complementary program, I chose sports. Sport and exercise have been driven out of the urban fabric by the separation of functions in times of modernist urbanism. As a result of this separation, large sports complexes have been created at the frayed edges of the city, while this program could be contributing to the city with its potential to provide vitality, movement, and social contact.

In the current way of life, these principles have shifted. Living, recreation, and work increasingly take place near the home. In addition, sports have the added advantage that they are intended for all generations and are therefore suitable for intertwining with the residential environment.   

Mixing the residential tower with sports creates the potential to qualitatively enhance both functions. In particular, the in-between space, the vacuum between the two programs. Here a space with different relationships arises to create a structure that generates contact and movement.   

This variety of starting points leads to a concept for the building: a vertical street in which a porous and accessible structure is created and the dwellings come into direct contact with life in a city. Where the focus is on a spatial and diverse journey from the city to the home.  


Graduation date: 30 August 2021
Graduation committee: Chris Scheen (mentor), Marjan van Herpen, Marcel van der Lubbe 
Additional members for the exam: Gianni Cito, Stephan Verkuijlen

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