Domūs Houthaven consists of a family of juxtaposed blocks around an elevated communal garden. The project houses 235 apartments and an array of collective spaces on a commercial plinth. The complex forms the last cornerstone of the superblock along the north-western perimeter of Houthaven that functions as a shield between the new neighborhood and the industrial harbor. Houthaven, the former wood-harbor between the historic Spaarndammerbuurt and the river IJ, is currently undergoing a massive transformation. The area, with its strategic location at only 2 km from Amsterdam Central Station, will facilitate almost 3000 new houses, combined with new services and working spaces.
The project, and its volumetric composition in particular, is designed as a differentiated whole that seeks a balance between unity and variety. All the blocks have their own specific housing typology, constructive system, façade grid and color. This enables identification by the inhabitants with their own house and fits with the masterplan’s ambition to break down the superblock into a smaller “urban grain size”.
In order to emphasize the unity between the parts, all blocks share the same architectonic DNA. The choice of sturdy brick volumes with generous façade openings and no-nonsense details refers to the industrial character of the harbor area. Each volume has a brick grid façade that merges solidity and transparency in such a way that it optimizes views, light and privacy for the specific apartment typology inside.
Multifunctional shared spaces
The blocks are visually separated and physically connected by the communal circulation space that links all housing units and also connects an array of shared spaces and amenities. Each inhabitant of Domūs Houthaven gets access to a large multifunctional garden room on the first floor and a roof pavilion with roof terrace on the fifth floor. The garden room opens towards the collective green court and consists of a variety of interconnected spaces for working, playing, relaxing, washing, eating and drinking. The roof pavilion, which is accessed by a pedestrian bridge in between two blocks, contains a large kitchen studio and a guestroom for all inhabitants to make use of. The diverse shared facilities and spaces stimulate social interactions between residents and make it possible to create more compact apartments.
On the ground floor the project links to the neighborhood by offering casco spaces for functions such as bars, restaurants, shops and office spaces. The parking garage has a large section for bikes and will contain a car-sharing concept.
The different apartments offer, despite their relatively small area of between 40 and 60 m2, a high level of spaciousness. Each apartment features its own type of XL-furniture that consist of a specific composition of modular elements for (open) kitchen, bathroom, storage and alcove bed. The composition and placement of this built in furniture element aims at maximizing the actual living space both in terms of size and flexibility of use.
The diversity in apartment types and shared facilities offers space for a variety of lifestyles and create the conditions for a vivid community within the complex.
Domus living is an innovative housing concept developed by Synchroon developers, Shift architecture urbanism and …,staat creative agency. The concept stands for an alternative way of living in the city that combines individual living qualities with the advantages of shared spaces and facilities, extra services and a community. It allows for sustainable high density housing complexes with compact apartments that efficiently deal with space, energy and material. Furthermore, they have the potential to create sustainable and vivid communities that charge the city with attractive spaces to live, work and interact.