SALAMANDER, Zaandam / NL, LOOS ARCHITECTS
The housing block with 79
apartments in Zaandam nestles itself into its surroundings like
a snake into its basket. The block contains rental apartments
for the free and social housing sector as well as 14 service apartments
and collective facilities for young handicapped people.
characteristically sloping roofline is a reaction to the context
of the building: a neighbourhood with small row houses on one
side, and multi-storey housing slabs on the other side. In order
to avoid that the row houses would lie in the shadow, the new
building had to remain rather low. This, however, wouldn’t have
resulted in the desired number of apartments. Therefore we opted
for a volume that traces the irregular perimeter of the plot whilst
spiralling upwards, thus adapting to the scale of the neighbouring
buildings. At the same time, this spiralling movement encloses
a quiet inner courtyard.
building lies on a busy road, we decided to wrap the typical Dutch
concrete bay structure in a rough skin of black bricks. These
bricks are laid on their side, exposing their dent and adding
to the tactile quality of the façade. The sculptural character
of the building is literally translated to the smaller scale of
the single stones. The actual thinness of this outer skin, visible
in the openings of the façade, stands in surprising contrast
Behind the outer skin lie the access
galleries and the exterior walls of the apartments, clad with yellowish-green
panels. The apartments are mainly orientated towards the quiet courtyard, which
has a warm and inviting atmosphere due to its wooden cladding and soft curves.
“Rough shell, soft core” seems to be the motto of the building.
Only at its narrow ends, the block is stripped of its
brick skin and reveals its domestic interior to the passers-by.
These apartments either have balconies, orientated towards the
outside of the block, or extra large access galleries along the
inner courtyard, which can also be used as balconies. By this
means, the best is made of their north-south orientation.
courtyard is designed as a collective garden and is accessible
to all residents. For the handicapped apartments, there is a small
separate garden on the eastern perimeter of the block. In addition,
the sloping roofscape is covered with moss, so the apartments
on the top floors have a nice view.
to its sloping roof and curvaceous shape, the block not only contains
many different apartment types - partly with extra high ceilings
or roof patios -, but also has a different appearance from each
perspective. Time and movement are important factors in its perception:
In order to understand the building as a whole, you have to move
through and around it. The block was named “Salamander” due to
the yellow cladding of the galleries, which is widely visible
behind the openings of the black skin especially at night.
such as these constitute the leitmotiv of the sculptural building.
In the Salamander, robust meets soft, dark meets colourful, industrial
meets handcrafted, and sober meets playful.
Housing corporation PARTEON, Zaandam,NL
Client handicapped apartments:
Stichting ODION, Purmerend, NL
Design: Dipl.Ing. M.A. Miguel
Loos, Amsterdam in collaboration with Bjarne Mastenbroek
Team: Gert Jan van Ginneke,
Pieter Hoogedorn, Joost Verheus, Holger Mührmann, Ton Gillissen,
Wilmar Groenendijk, Mike Davis, Ralph Doggen, Katarina Vranova,
Roger van Well, Julia Lang
Landscape Design (execution
in 2007): Terra Firma, Amsterdam, NL
Contractor: Van Braam Minnesma,
Structural engineer: Constructiebureau
Tentij, Heemskerk, NL
Technical Advisors: SDB
Consult, Nijkerk / Basalt Bouwadvies, Nieuwegein / DAO, Amsterdam,
Design - realization: 1999-2006
Building costs: € 7.800.000,-
Floor area: 10.280 m2
Building costs / m2: € 760,- / m2
Photography: Allard van
der Hoek, Baron G.A. Tindalplein 213, NL-1019 TW Amsterdam - allard.hoek[at]freeler.nl
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LOOS ARCHITECTS / Foto © Allard van der Hoek
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