Overhoeks/A’DAM tower

Overhoeksplein 1
A. Staal
ING Real Estate
Guus Kemme (red.), Amsterdam Architecture - A guide, Bussum 1996, p.143.

Tower block for general services and directorate

In the late sixties, the 79-metre-high Shell Tower was built on the north bank of the IJ, opposite Amsterdam’s central station. At that time, it was one of the tallest civil buildings in Amsterdam. Because of the limited space, Arthur Staal decided to build high for this new office building. In so doing, he broke with the strict horizontality of the existing building development and, moreover, positioned the building diagonally – ‘overhoeks’ – in relation to the IJ waterfront.

The building ‘Overhoeks’ is built on 426 piles on the 22 metre deep second layer of sand, because the first layer of sand, which is commonly used, at a depth of thirteen metres was not firm enough. The fifteen-storey tower block is supported by four pylons of untreated concrete. Protruding between these enormous pylons is a low wing which contains a conference room and which functions as an entrance building. One of the pylons stands in the entrance foyer, as part of an interior with eye-catching seventies features.

On top of the tower is a canopy made of polyester and polyurethane foam in which four stylized Shell shells have been cut out. Immediately underneath this canopy, on top of the body of the building, is a viewing cabin. The orientation of the canopy and the entrance wing parallel to the IJ waterfront accentuates the diagonal rotation of the body of the building. In view of the pollution in the industrialized environment of Amsterdam-Noord, the facades are clad with anthracite-coloured elements of shock concrete. The use of insulating glazing, provided with an extremely thin layer of evaporated gold, gives Overhoeks a golden appearance when the sun is low in the sky. (ARCAM/SR)