Pakhuis Afrika

Oostelijke Handelskade 17
Oostelijk Havengebied
W. van Lookeren Campagne en E. Confeld von Felbert (renovatie: VillaNova, 2006)
N.V. Handelskade
tram 26, halte Kattenburgerstraat
Bedrijven, Kantoren

Harbour warehouse with mushroom slab floors

Pakhuis Afrika was built between 1883 and 1885 as one of a group of three harbour warehouses named after Europe, Asia and Africa respectively. They were the first warehouses in Amsterdam to be located on a deepwater harbour where it was possible to load and unload cargoes directly.

The original ‘Africa’ warehouse was destroyed by fire in 1913 but then rebuilt to a design by the architect A.J. Joling. He gave the new building a skeleton of reinforced concrete. The reinforcing bars proved to be too shallowly embedded in the concrete, however, making them vulnerable to rusting. This made it necessary to renew the facade in the 1930s, an operation in which a brick infill was added. Pakhuis Afrika has been listed as an architectural monument owing to its concrete mushroom slab floors. As one of the first buildings in the Netherlands to use this technique, it is of considerable historical value. After a renovation in 2006, led by VillaNova architects, ‘Africa’ is now in use as office space. Also in 2006, a new apartment-building by Kees Christiaanse was built against, and partly on, the old warehouse. (ARCAM/TJ)