Emerald Empire villa’s

Jo Coenen
Jo Coenen & Co
Bouwmaatschappij Verwelius

The crowning feature of an island

In addition to the master plan for KNSM-eiland, Jo Coenen also designed this circular housing complex. Emerald Empire, completed in 1996, is literally the crowning feature of KNSM-eiland.

Characteristic of the master plan is the enclosed yet open character of the island. This principle is expressed in the Emerald Empire; the building’s public inner courtyard provides shelter, while the panoramic view of the IJ provides openness. For Coenen, it was important that the island’s central axis, KNSM-laan, should not terminate in a nondescript roundabout, but rather in a landmark as seen from KNSM-laan.

Because of the complex’s circular ground plan, the floor plans of the dwellings are fan-shaped and a large part of the dwelling is situated on the window side. At the client’s request, but also as a consequence of the large size of the dwellings, the fan shape is scarcely noticeable in the dwellings and the floor plan is fairly ‘standard’. The recessed balconies extend the full width of the dwellings.

The eight-storey building contains 206 three-room apartments and 18 four-room apartments. These 18 spacious dwellings are situated on the northeast side of the building and, with their oriels, which provide a spectacular view over the IJ, give rise to an asymmetrical exterior. The surrounding waterside villas, also designed by Coenen, were completed a year later. (ARCAM/VKB)