WHAT architecture - London


Nursery, Housing (52 Units)
Scale700 sqm
ClientDe Huismeesters
Budget€ 6800000
Design Year2009

Project delivered with NL Architects

It is surprising than in a flat country like Netherlands only so few Tower emerge. The potential of the unobstructed view and dazzling light - as one of the main topics in Dutch painting - remains unused. There seems to be a collective fear of elevators. (Which maybe explains the success of the Dutch movie Down – originally called De Lift). Prisma takes the view – one of the most glamorous properties od dwelling – as starting point. Prisma is a residential building: 52 apartments in 16 stories, nearly 50 meters high. A nursery, a playground and a medical facility are located at the base. The site is a typical CIAM – based Post War development called Vinkhuizen; a mixture of middle high apartments in an open layout and some semi-high rises: a lot of green, a lot of public space and a lot of parking. Much of the housing is no longer considered fit for the 21st Century. Prisma is part of the nationwide, large – scale renovation of Post War areas that now is underway in the Netherlands. The 16 story building consists of a “simple” stacking of the desired apartment types. The largest are at the bottom, the smaller ones on top: a weirdly proportioned Ziggurat; the contour reminiscent of the archetype of the high rise. The rational structure serves as the backbone for a frivolous addition. The balconies are draped around the structure like “couture”. The corners of the stepped volume are connected. Then, the surplus of balcony that emerges is excavated. The balconies should be the same size per category of apartments.

The proportion of the balconies changes depending on the position in the block. Since from top to bottom the depth of the terraces increases, as a consequence, the width has to decrease. So from relatively wide and shallow, they develop to more slim and deeper. The outdoor space of each apartment becomes unique and individual.