Amsterdam / Netherlands
A former office building on the iconic Prinsengracht in the historic centre of Amsterdam is to be returned to its original state of being, that of a residential address. In this evolution though, it will flourish into a luxurious family townhouse.
As the property is not a listed monument, the south-facing rear of the house undergoes an extensive regeneration. In the basement, an existing enclosed extension is taken away and replaced with a small garden patio that will help natural light filter down. Much of the existing characterless rear facade is taken away as well, and replaced with an expressive system of wood and glass that cascades down. Concrete-plated balconies act as extensions to the living spaces that make use of the sun-filled rear. An internal void between the ground floor and the basement is also inserted along this new rear facade.
The front facade sees more modest changes than the rear, by respecting the existing profiles and making minor modifications to the windows that become double-doored instead of sliding upwards. The most dramatic element is the provision of a new attic floor, that is inserted at the level of the existing flat roof. A pitched roof is therefore brought in, this roof reflecting the original condition of the property as seen in archive drawings. The cornice detail is also updated to better incorporate into the new roof profile.
Internally, a new staircase takes advantage of the openings already in place with the existing stairs, however will take on a more contemporary and sleek profile. Ultimately, the house balances respecting the qualities gained from its original state along with implementing striking contemporary gestures where appropriate to provide for a site that can beautifully host all forms of family activity.