Bastiaan Jongerius
Bastiaan Jongerius Architecten
Woonstichting de Key
De Principaal
metro 53 halte Kraaiennest

Facelifted apartment towers

A massive renovation exercise has been in progress in Amsterdam-Zuidoost since 1992. The appearance of the Bijlmermeer housing estate and its surroundings is changing irrevocably. Keywords for the renovation are ‘differentiation’, ‘accessibility’ and ‘safety’. The scheme involves demolition of a proportion of the highrise flats to make way for low-rise and medium-rise housing. The bunker-like parking garages disappear from view, and the barriers between pedestrian/bicycle routes and motorized traffic are reduced. As an example of the latter, the Karspeldreef elevated road was brought down to ground level in 2005.

The housing foundation Woonstichting De Key responded by lowering the entrances of the ‘K Towers’ which flank Karspeldreef. They invested in a major renovation of the tower blocks (Kralenbeek, Kempering, Klieverink and Kouwenoord) to improve their image. These buildings visually dominate their surroundings, so the upgrade affects the whole district positively.

Woonstichting De Key’s development company, De Principaal, commissioned Bastiaan Jongerius Architecten to give the flats a more pleasing and accessible ambiance. The architecture firm did so by redesigning the ‘skin’ of the tower blocks. Sustainability was a driving factor in their design; preservation of the main structures and the durability of the building materials used had high priority. The artist Helmut Dick enlivened the transformer room exteriors at the base of the towers with wild animal prints – a lighthearted reference to the indomitable energy of the residents. (ARCAM/FG)