Kees Rijnboutt
Luijten, A., 'Een vat vol tegenstrijdigheden. De dynamische geschiedenis van de Bijlmermeer', Archis, maart 1997; Boomen, T. van den, 'Een dinosaurus op zijn knieƫn', De Blauwe Kamer, april 2007.

First flats in De Bijlmer

Building of the Bijlmermeer district started on 13 December 1966 with the first pile being driven for the Hoogoord flats by the Mayor of Amsterdam, Gijs Van Hall. Hoogoord is part of the H Neighbourhood, which consists of four straight, slab-shaped blocks of flats. Financial constraints prevented the construction of staircase-accessed flats as originally intended, so the buildings took the form of eleven-storey gallery flats with 25 apartments accessed by each lift. In a mere two years after that first pile was driven, Hoogoord was ready for delivery as the first completed block of flats in De Bijlmer.

Kees Rijnboutt, the designer of Hoogoord, worked as an architect for the Amsterdam Housing Department and was involved in planning De Bijlmer from 1964 to 1975. He was influenced by historic German innovators such as Bruno Taut and Ernst May. A group of urban designers, headed by G.S. Nassuth and inspired by the example of Van Eesteren, devised plans for extension of Amsterdam towards the south east. The conceptual basis of De Bijlmer was a rectangular grid of elevated traffic roads, between which eleven-storey housing blocks would be erected amid gardens. Light, fresh air and greenery were prominent in the ideology of housing and lifestyles in the 1960s.

In 1992, the city of Amsterdam, the borough of Zuidoost and the Nieuw Amsterdam Housing Association decided to undertake a comprehensive renovation of De Bijlmermeer. As part of this exercise, the bottom three floors of Hoogoord were substantially altered. The blind walls and the ground-level internal street were converted into 42 new homes with gardens. Considerable attention went into improving public safety in and around the flats. New entrance halls, brightly lit and decorated in pastel colours, were added. On the upper floors, staircases, lifts and entrance halls were refurbished. (ARCAM/FB)