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Mecanoo’s massive brick-clad De Halve Maen apartment building relieved with elegant details

Netherlands - May 19, 2017 - 15:40   3331 views

Mecanoo's massive brick-clad De Halve Maen apartment building in Amsterdam features very tiny, tenuous but elegant details to relieve the structure on the façade, even if it seems very weighty and serious building from far away.

Completed in 2014, the building is 8-storey residential building with 86 rental apartments of 11,000 square meters in total with parking garage at the site of the former Shell Terrain. 

"The De Halve Maen apartment building, named after the vessel of the Dutch East India Company, is an apartment building that is part of the Overhoeks development," said Mecanoo. 

The studio created attractive, high-quality, spacious homes on the former Shell terrain, beautifully located on the north shore of the river IJ. Designed as a symmetrical U-shaped building in a park area, the building draws "a tall masonry plinth and tiered superstructure" with its regular window arrangements.

Mecanoo reverses the rigid structure of the urban plan, the design of De Halve Maen forms a subtle play between the symmetry and massing. The orientation of the residences, outdoor spaces, public courtyard and a division between lower and upper building forms are instrumental to this approach. 

"The inspiration for the design and material selection was the elegant limestone buildings of Paris with their large doors, ornate wrought iron fences and zinc roofs. Wherever possible, the apartments have been given two (or more) sided orientation to provide maximum sunlight, resulting in an asymmetrical building layout and a variety of outdoor pocket spaces," added the studio.

The courtyard is connected with the entrance of the building and located to the side of the courtyard. The facade of the substructure is six storeys. At the courtyard the facade extends seven, and further accentuating the height of the building. 

The remaining levels of the lower part of the building are five to six storeys. The staggered roofline, combined with vertical incisions and the transparent entrance hall combine to create a dynamic building. The facade is clad in gradations of warm yellow brickwork, with the balconies detailed in slender elegant railings. 

"By embedding the double swinging doors into the facade, a French-style balconette with the same iron work has been created for each window. The top three floors create a unique idiosyncratic upper world."

"Extruding segments of the building envelope and adding volume elsewhere creates a sculpture of volumes that flow into one another. Twenty special penthouses with large roof gardens are located on these floors," added Mecanoo.

Opening the large doors on a sunny day gives the feeling of already being outside. On colder days, the floor-to-ceiling windows allow for an abundance of daylight. The studio created a large variety of floor plans - ranging from 53 to 136 sqm - which offer a freedom of choice to the tenants, and therefore creates a diverse range of residents.

Ground floor plan

Mezzanine plan

7th floor plan

Housing type - A

Housing type - Q

Housing type - V

Initial sketch

Facade sketch - 2

Volumetric sketches

Project facts

Project name: De Halve Maen apartment building

Architect: Mecanoo

Size: 11,000 m2

Status: Completed 

Project Design: 2004 - 2006 

Project Realisation: 2013 - 2014 

Address: Spadinalaan, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Client: Ymere Development

Programme: 8 storey residential building with 86 rental apartments, varying in size from 53 m2 to 136 m2, with parking garage

All images © Mecanoo Architecten 

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