Location: Oud-West, Amsterdam
Project Year: 2015
Cost: £100k - £500k31/44 Architects has completed Wenslauer House, a new spacious self-build family home on a constrained site in central Amsterdam.
Replacing a dilapidated early 20th century workers cottage. The eclectic quality of the street stems from its colourful past when the area was in use as the city’s builders yard. A wide canal at the end of the street was used to bring materials into the city on large barges from the surrounding countryside and seaports, which were then offloaded and stored in large warehouses.
31/44’s design for the new house celebrates this industrial quality whilst referencing the townhouse typology widely seen in the city centre, a reflection of the neighbourhood becoming more ‘upscale’ as this area of Amsterdam adopts some of the formality of the historic centre.
The street elevation features a brick facade and pitched gable profile which was partly guided by council requirements. Bands of structural concrete and large window openings reference facade details from local workshops. In contrast, the rear is clad in simple utilitarian cementitious panels.
The brickwork on the north facing street facade is laid in a Flemish bond to make the surface as textured as possible. The facade receives the sun only at the start and end of the day when the oblique angle of the sun brings the surface to life. A bench in front of the house is conceived as a shared amenity for the street, which has a lively sociable community that frequently takes over the road during summer evenings.
Internally, a void, with a large rooflight above, runs from the roof to the ground floor to bring natural light into the centre of the plan at all levels. A split-level ground floor with a lower ground floor creates a spacious kitchen/living room with full width glazed panels that open onto the rear garden. The living spaces at both ground and first floor feature exposed timber structure to add depth, character and material warmth in the areas where the family spend most of their time.