The vibrant city of Amsterdam has a stunning new architectural highlight. At De Boelelaan, in the south of the city, the architectural team of Hans van Heeswijk Architecten has transformed a 1960s block of flats into a modern building containing both residential and office space. The feature that really sets it apart is a magnificent rooftop garden, from which the residents can enjoy panoramic views of the city.
The De Boel building was originally constructed in 1964. It is a so-called galerijflat – that is to say, a block in which the flats are entered from galleries running the full width of the façade. It is a typical style for Dutch apartment buildings of the 1960s. Vesteda, the largest commercial residential fund in the Netherlands, decided to buy it and give the ‘heirloom’ a new lease of life.
The construction work was awarded to architectural contractor Van der Leij, together with De Dakdokters and Glaswacht Zaanstreek. It was completed in 2016, and De Boel now incorporates 3,000 square meters of office space, as well as 144 renovated flats of 70 m2 each and 10 mid-market penthouses of 108 m2 each. The residential units are targeted mainly at professionals aged between 25 and 35.
The building’s biggest selling point, without a doubt, is the spacious roof garden, where residents can relax in stylish surroundings. Chic, modern furniture – also designed by Hans van Heeswijk – contributes to an atmosphere of luxury and comfort. The planting scheme, created by Karres+brands, remains lush at all times, thanks to a smart system for collecting and storing rainwater.
This rooftop oasis offers spectacular views of the city. Although safety barriers were an essential feature, the architect was keen that they should be practically invisible. Q-railing’s Easy Glass Pro railing system was the perfect solution, combining maximum transparency with the highest standards of safety. In this case, the glass infills do not even have a cap rail, as the client requested glass with a minimalist U-shaped stainless steel Q-railing profile on top. Viewed from the seating areas, the effect is magical - the roof space seems to merge with the surrounding cityscape like an infinity pool. On a practical note, the 245 metres of glass railing also provide a useful wind break, for the comfort of anyone relaxing in the garden.
Architect Dick de Gunst from Hans van Heeswijk Architecten was delighted with the results: ‘The Easy Glass Pro system certainly helped turn the vision into reality. It’s a fantastic product. The way it lets you create near-invisible railings without sacrificing any safety is truly impressive.’
Vesteda is the largest commercial residential property investor in the Netherlands and has recently acquired an existing residential / office building at the De Boelelaan in Amsterdam Buitenveldert. The building is part of the General Expansion Plan Amsterdam (AUP), dates from 1964 and consists of a brick assembly building system. The application of this system in a 10-storey building makes it unique in the Netherlands.
The location at the De Boelelaan, opposite the ‘Zuidas’ and next to the ‘VU University Amsterdam’, combined with the quality of living of Buitenveldert, makes this an ideal residential location. The building was converted for the target audience of young professionals (ages 25-35) and offers attractive, accessible rental housing. The building has been thoroughly refurbished with respect for the original qualities. The homes feature contemporary kitchens with appliances, a spacious bathroom and good plumbing. The heating systems have been updated to make the homes energy efficient.
Ten apartments on the top floor are upwardly extended to penthouses. These penthouses on the 10th floor have a spacious living / dining kitchen, a six meter wide glass wall overlooking the skyline of the ‘Zuidas’ and on the second floor a large private, south facing, roof terrace.
The middle part of the roof contains a landscaped roof garden with panoramic views. The roof garden offers residents the opportunity to recreate in peace and privacy or to have a rooftop party with other inhabitants and/or guests. The roof garden is designed as ‘polder roof garden’, with the water being buffered to relieve pressure on the sewage system. It also compensates for the shortage of surface water in the surrounding area.
The interest among potential tenants was huge and all properties were let prior to completion. On June 24, 2016 the new roof garden opened with a party for the inhabitants.