The project Switi is an extension to the residential area Kelbergen in the South-East of Amsterdam, adding a strip of low-rise buildings and small residential tower to the existing development of Jan Sterenberg in 1973. The low-rise district consists of a mix of owner-occupied and small rental homes of two floors, with flat roofs.
The new extension adds a strip of low-rise buildings and a small residential tower to the development, building on the qualities of the original neighborhood. The key urban gesture places the housing on the opposite side of the water that surrounds the existing masterplan, celebrating this natural feature and transforming it from a boundary into an integral part and central element of the neighborhood. The low-rise buildings build upon the language of the original neighborhood, with the same typology of row houses staggering to create a balance between collective appearance and individuality.
On a larger scale the project will be part of a major transformation with the construction of the Gaasperdammertunnel that has taken away the nuisance of car traffic from the area. The park that will be replacing the highway and built on top of the new tunnel will connect the Biljmermeer and Gaasperdam districts. The new small tower, consisting of 45 apartments of 60 square meters, responds to this new situation and forms a pivot point in the new urban environment. It will become a small but important landmark that connects the two neighborhoods on either side of the park not only physically but also visually.
In terms of construction, materialization and architecture, the new building follows the principle of modernism from 1970: building in the spirit of the times. The facades, walls and floors of both the tower and the low-rise buildings are made entirely of wood. Architectural unity is also created by the bamboo façade finishes and the square loggias and window openings.
For the development of Switi, urban planning, public space and architecture provide an integral answer to the sustainability ambition of the municipality of Amsterdam. During the design phase, there was therefore intensive cooperation with the municipality and developer to ensure that the principles of the various parties reinforce each other.
The focus of the urban plan lies on improving spatial quality, the introduction of greenery and sustainable measures in order to improve the quality of life and the environment. By combining architecture, social-urban development and a green approach to public space, the project delivers a new residential quarter for Amsterdam that is in line with ‘Rainproof Amsterdam’ and ‘Nature-inclusive Building and Design’.
Location: Kelbergen, Amsterdam South East, The Netherlands
Program: 24 ground-level homes, 45 apartments
Area: 12.100 m2
Client: BPD / Bouwfonds Gebiedsontwikkeling
Contractor: Ekowood Houses
Public space: Municipality of Amsterdam and HOH Architecten
Status: Under construction (2023-2024)
Project team: Freyke Hartemink, Jarrik Ouburg, Carsten Hilgendorf, Frederique van Erven, Csenge Király, Athina Pappa
Photography: Max Hart Nibbrig, HOH Architecten