Baden Powellweg 305
W. Vermeer, I. van Herwaarden
Tram 1, Bus 192
Bedrijven, Wonen

Nieuw-West is currently undergoing a large-scale urban renewal operation. This has to be carried out with the utmost care since this is an internationally renowned urban module, laid down in Amsterdam’s General Expansion plan (AUP) of 1935. While there are differences between the various areas of Nieuw-West (Slotermeer, Geuzenveld, Slotervaart and Osdorp), they are clearly based on one and the same idea. This is evident in, among other things, a certain regularity, achieved through the repetition of identical blocks.

There are also exceptions and a characteristic example is the residential and office building ‘Aeckerstyn’ at the corner of Baden Powellweg and Plesmanlaan. This building is located in a unique spot, namely right at the end of the long Baden Powellweg, at the point where the road curves and meets, at a right angle, Slotervaart and Plesmanlaan. This gave rise to triangular plot, with space for a single project.

Aeckersteyn, which was built in the period 1963-65, is brilliantly situated. The high-rise structure consists of two slabs, one of which is at right angles to Baden Powellweg and radically terminates this axis, while the other is parallel to the curved road and at right angles to Plesmanlaan. The long strip with office spaces, on the first floor, above the storage units, continues over a series of garages and together this gives the entrance area the character of a yard. This section was extended shortly after its completion.

Architecturally, the entire complex exhibits a remarkable clarity. The building presents itself in all its simplicity as a vertical city. On top of the base, which contains the office spaces, are two sets of 5 ‘streets’, each with 10 dwellings. On top of this are 2 sets of 10 flats, specially designed for single-person households. In the angle of the building, on top of each other, are 11 studios.
There are several things that make this building particularly interesting today. Unlike many buildings of the same period, it appears to be in a perfect state of repair. It is clearly soundly constructed and has been well maintained over the years. Furthermore, it is remarkable that very little is known about the building’s designers. Many people think that it is the work of a well-known architect such as W. van Tijen or his colleague P. Zanstra. In reality it was designed by two virtually unknown Rotterdam architects, W. Vermeer & I. Van Herwaarden. Most interestingly, the status of the complex has recently been upgraded, even though it has not been refurbished. It is and remains unique, but it can also be seen as the proud leader of the series of new, tall residential buildings that have been built on Jan van Zutphenplantsoen. (ARCAM/MK)