Claus van Amsbergstraat
Machiel van der Torre
Duinker van der Torre Architecten

From gloomy flats to colourful residences

When Amsterdam decided to undertake a complete renovation of its Zuidoost district in 1992, the intention was to demolish all the high rise buildings. Protests from residents led however to the retention of some of the high rise. Some blocks of flats were preserved in their entirety, while in other cases a section of the block was kept. In the F Neighbourhood, parts of the blocks along Bijlmerdreefkant were retained and renovated. New low rise housing was built around them resulting in a mixed neighbourhood of high rise and low rise.

Fleerde and Frissenstein flats, were renovated by the architecture firm Duinker Van der Torre. Sections of these blocks were retained and renovated. The renovation designers decided to remove the concrete parapets and replace them by coloured glass, giving the flats a more individualized character.

Some flats were merged into two-floor maisonettes to make them more attractive to purchasers. The ground floor entrance halls were made transparent and open to reduce the sense of unsafety. The renovated block was furthermore surrounded by new three-storey houses with individual entrances, producing a closed urban block. The result was a mix of houses and apartments. Providing outdoor spaces for the new low rise housing was problematic, however. The solution consisted of making a car park in the centre of the block and roofing it over with terraces. This satisfied not only the need for outdoor spaces but also for car parking. (ARCAM/JB)