Westerdok, Amsterdam, Holland

Meyer + Van Schooten, Architekten Cie, Heren 5
Date Built
The "housingprototypes.org" website has an interesting article about the Westerdok Island housing development.  This piece of land was apparently used as a railway shunting yard connected to Amsterdam Central Station by way of a swinging bridge.  The shunting yard was abandoned, the swinging bridge converted into a restaurant and this narrow spit of land became home to the residential blocks you see on this page.

The article goes on to explain that, "... The early master plan concept for Westerdokseiland was to combine a perimeter block typology of closed courtyards with one of freestanding buildings. The long narrow site was divided up into 4 blocks between a straight quay along the west side opposite Westerdok, and a curving wall along the east side facing the IJ. Three of the 4 blocks were variations of a perimeter block typology. The 4th block was a 13-story narrow triangular building that tapered to a point at the north end. At the south end there was a large plaza facing the channel connecting Westerdok with the IJ. The 4 blocks are organized on a repeating E/W grid. This resulted in a consistent pattern even though there was a lot of variety in building height, shape, and materials."

"A different team of architects developed each of the 4 courtyard blocks: La Grande Cour (253 units): Meyer & van Schooten; Heren 5; De Architeken Cie; VOC Cour (362 units): MVRDV; Jeroen Schippen; John Bosch; Art Zaaijer; Westerkaap II (191 units): AWG Architecten; DKV Architecten; Baneke, van der Hoeven; Westerkaap I (111 units); AWG Architecten; Baneke, van der Hoeven"

Like most large Dutch housing projects, Westerdokseiland has a diverse mix of rental and owner-occupied dwellings and a great range of apartment types and sizes. Of the 253 dwellings, in La Grande Cour, 120 are owner occupied homes, 80 are government -sponsored rental housing, 30 are designated for middle income families, 24 are top end rental, and there several penthouses. Some of the apartments have balconies and access to roof terraces. There are 263 parking spaces and about 2500 square meters of commercial space. La Grande Cour is a virtual lexicon of dwelling types.