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The project started with a set of challenging parameters given by the City. A mixed programme of a total of 64 dwellings had to be fitted on an unusually narrow plot stretching itself along the massive concrete side facade of the district’s new parking garage. Instead of a proposed long structure with dark corridors and galleries, the project divides the mass into four proper buildings, each with their own character, entrance solution and resident group. A small town house disrupts the length of the block and limits the number of elevators to three.

A number of interventions to the dense scheme add human scale and quality to the daily routines of the dweller. Large gates connect the street to the entrance halls, collective bicycle storages and interior courtyard. This narrow void is carved out of the block with stepped setbacks to provide additional daylight to the homes at the rear. The soft undulating concrete curtain, muted colours and crisp gravel floor unites the dwellers of the four individual buildings in a shared space and creates a visual resting point on the way from busy city life to the seclusion of the home.

In the 17th century, Oostenburg was a harbour district with shipyards and warehouses of the VOC. After the industrial revolution, it became the scene of machine factories for ship engines and locomotives. The industrial history allowed for a large new residential development, with exceptional heights and density for what is now considered the inner city of Amsterdam.