’De Huisjes’ (Dutch for ‘The Houses’) are part of a former charity located on the Waterlooplein in Amsterdam. From the main building, that dates back to 1655, the charity distributed food and peat to the city’s poor residents. De Huisjes consist of a couple of symmetrical residential units, that were added to the rear of the complex in 1776, and probably intended for the caretakers of the complex.
Today, De Huisjes function as a storage space for the Academy of Architecture, part of the Amsterdam School of Arts, which has called the wider complex home since 1946. We were tasked to envision a series of minimal spatial interventions that will increase the efficiency of De Huisjes and introduce workplaces for permanent employees, whilst partly maintaining its current storage capacity.
Bringing back the original symmetry of the buildings, which was lost through the demolition of the central partition wall during a renovation in 1957, is the starting point in re-envisioning its transformation. The wall is re-introduced at ground level, and the symmetrical character of the building runs through each floor.
New furniture interventions and a more readable order in the organization of the plan are derived from tracing back the symmetrical character of de Huisjes. Due to the very limited size of the building (only 2.5 m deep, and 7.5 m wide) customization is necessary. Storage cabinets are naturally located over the entire length of the closed rear wall of the building, maximizing use of daylight from the facade and keeping the front space free for office use. Each cabinet is tailored in its dimensions and design to be used specific to the space it is fitted in.
The main intervention is located on the first floor, which currently has a very low ceiling height. The wooden planks that line the ceiling will be removed to expose the timber structure of the roof and creating a double-height space for a meeting room in the center of the plan. New study spaces will be introduced in the attic of the building on either side, over-looking the central meeting space. Those will be clad in semi-reflective glass, which physically separates the smaller spaces from the central one without removing visual connection.
Location: Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Client: Amsterdam Academy of Architecture / Amsterdam University of the Arts
Program: Flexibile workspaces, meeting room, storage.
Status: Under construction
Team: Jarrik Ouburg, Pedro Magalhaes
Contractor: Altim Bouwbedrijf
Interior elements: Verdam
Eletricity: Deene Elektrotechniek
Frame and glass: Mview+
Light advisor: 50 LUX
Transparent wall: Showtex