qubic, amsterdam
715 student housing units, 72 apartments and restaurants

The construction of temporary student accommodation, which appears permanent, in the former dockland area of Amsterdam's Houthavens was not an obvious concept. Until recently, the area comprised a disorganised collection of free-standing buildings. This has changed dramatically with the introduction of the student accommodation and its lively atmosphere has made it a 'place to be' in Amsterdam. Besides the student housing the development also contains a ship converted into student rooms, ateliers for artists and a collection of restaurants and bars.
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The method of construction consists of stacked containers sandwiched between two prefabricated, flat structural planes. This has a threefold benefit; it ensures a solid, robust structure, it allows for the creation of verandas and it adds to the development's permanent appearance. The slightly elevated verandas, formed by projecting the floor slab beyond the perimeter of the building, improve both the spatial quality and the atmosphere of the project. The housing blocks are simply planned with the individual units accessed via long double-loaded corridors. By removing a number of the containers, these corridors receive sufficient light and ventilation. The facades are constructed from deep, storey-high moulded plastic panels that contain a variety of window openings. Coloured plexiglas further adds to the lively composition of the elevations. The temporary development has a warm, informal and permanent atmosphere with a strong architectural expression. The whole development took only 12 months from conception to completion.
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In order to create a 'village' atmosphere, the housing is formed around three open areas that serve as a place of congregation for the students. There are two courtyards - sheltered spaces with a lawn for sport and relaxation. A cafeteria/restaurant is located in the northern courtyard that has one side open to the IJ.
Three blocks of apartments built using the same construction system are located on the eastern side of the development.
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project information
address: gevleweg, stavangerweg
design team: albert herder, arie van der neut,
vincent van der klei, nils van ipenburg, stijn de jongh
project team: albert herder, nils van ipenburg,
menno veldman
structural engineering: albert herder,
vincent van der klei
client: de key / de principaal, amsterdam
contractor: ursem bouwgroep bv, wognum
design-completion: 2003-2005
construction costs: € 18.500.000
publications: stedenbouw & architectuur feb. 2004,
bouw nr.10 2005, architectuur in nederland - jaarboek 2005-2006, arcam pocket; 'amsterdamse architectuur 2003-2006' photography: luuk kramer