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Adaptable office building, Amsterdam

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Maccreanor Lavington Architects

As is the case in many European cities, Amsterdam's nineteenth- century harbour areas are being developed as highly differentiated, attractive neighbourhoods for living and working.

The large office building marks the boundary between the new development 'Spaarndammer Hout' and the industrial area to the north which is still in use. The architecture of the building emphasises its mediating position between the new living environment and the older industrial area via its double-faced exterior with non-hierarchical front elevations.

The ground floor houses public functions, shops, workshops and entrance halls. The first floor is used as a large parking deck divided into several compartments. The upper floors, neutral office spaces with high floor- to-ceiling heights and a regular grid structure, can be rented to larger firms or subdivided into smaller units for starting offices. The top floor with its industrial roof-light structure is designed for smaller practices but can be easily converted to house studio spaces and combined units for living and working.

The meander-form of the block allows for green, south-facing entrance courts as gentle gestures towards the public street and the adjacent canal. On the other side of the block, accessible roof terraces and light-wells on top of the parking level visually break the length of the long block. The neutral elevations form a composition on the large scale of the whole building. The relatively narrow building width makes the building suitable for natural ventilation.

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