From an old office building to comfortable apartments with a panoramic view, private terraces with trees, private elevator, and the Westerpark on your doorstep. This is 'De Voortuinen', a new housing project designed by TANK.
Each apartment has their own ‘front garden’: a royal private terrance which also serves as an entrance to the apartment. Architect & Partner Menno Kooistra from TANK turns the conventional housing typology inside-out: “As a owner you step from the Westerpark, via the elevator, directly on to your own frontgarden.”
'De Voortuinen' is a ground-breaking transformation project. The project contains a unique find: the elevators whom are currently positioned in the building’s core, are moved to the facade. This reduces the amount of hallways inside and leading up to your apartment, leaving more room for living spaces, allowing you to step directly from your elevator lobby in your own apartment.
There are hardly any communal spaces in 'De Voortuinen'. Kooistra says: “Hallways, lobbies, and corridors, are mainly seen as source possible discomfort. Privacy is getting more and more important. Meanwhile the idea of sharing private space or possessions is becoming an active part of contemporary society. You can subled a vacant room, just like you share you car. The design plays a central role since it allows each separate living space to have it’s own front door. “
All rooms are accessible from the private front garden, it creates a situation in which the apartment can be decided and used in many different ways. Part of the apartment can be subled as separate studio, have an office or practice. While households are expanding this space can be easily reconnected to the appartement without mayor refurbishment, or be turned into a private residence for an au-pair. This extra front door allows the appartement to be used overtime, even whilst moving into new family situations.
“Green spaces are not a luxury in the city”, Kooistra states. On each of the twelve levels, ten buckets are placed containing trees, bushes, and smaller vegetation like herbs and grass. Trees are watered by a central irrigation system. Water used, is collected and stored on the roof, underneath the solar panels. This ecological densification contributes to reducing heating, filters fine dust, and demise noise-pollution. “We literally pull the Westerpark into the apartment”.
Although the former bank toren undergoes complete transformation, the existing structure remains intact and forms a characteristic detail in every appartement. The transformation is an important step towards to future plans of Westerpark West, the urban plan 'De Voortuinen' is part of, which will be developed in the coming years.
'De Voortuinen' offers a large variety of apartments ranging from 30 to 330 square metres. All apartments own a private terrace and are without Amsterdam leasehold.