The Huygens location is in the Overtoomse Veld district which finds itself on the boundary between the western garden city’s and the pre-war city. The location is situated in an urban renewal zone. This zone is to be transformed over the next 15 years from a garden city environment with a middle high density to an urban environment with a high density.
The building location is enclosed by the Jan Evertsenstraat, the main road for traffic going north, the Jan Tooropstraat, a city street to the east, an ecological Ringspoorzone to the west and the Karel Klinkenbergstraat to the south. The design for the Huygens location falls into 3 separate unities : part of the Old Huygens, on the Jan Evertsenstraat, is to be maintained, a new school ‘’De Hasselbraam’’ is to be built on the Karel Klinkenbergstraat and the new housing development on the Jan Tooropstraat, including a high rise apartment building on the Jan Evertsenstraat for a spatial accent.
The Old Huygens shall largely be preserved and transformed into a business centre for various learning and cultural activities. The Practitioners Company, a place where the youth can learn and work within a business and organisations that work on renewing activities and completing them with a package of ‘Civil Activities’. An interesting example of a practitioners company is the Colour Kitchen which shall be housed here. The building complex from the formal Huygens College was designed by Tholens and Steenhart and built in 1962. The industrial character of the building provides many possibilities for reuse and binds the new plans with the past.
In the rapport ‘’future vision Parkstad’’ from the syndicate in 2000 the Overtoomse Veld North and a few of the neighbouring districts are described as ‘Jordaan in the 21st century’, that which was used as inspiration for the architectural design. For most of the building the entrances to the apartments are reached via a central lift hall on each floor. The buildings have varying heights to provide individuality and a recognisable position in the city, the high rise apartment building marks an important entrance on the Overtoomse Veld.
A mixture of living, working and services is essential for stimulating a city environment. The Huygens location gives a chance to break the rigid functional division from the Amsterdam’s Uitbreidingsplan (AUP). The high plinth of the building along the Jan Tooropstraat and the Jan Evertsenstraat is reserved for small scale businesses with an open character to the street.
What makes the project special is the use of ornaments, a conscious break with the business like, functional, and therefore anonymous character from the post war architecture. The artists collective Studio Job from Eindhoven designed the cement lintels with recognisable hieroglyphics with a living theme. It has been proven through time that an ornamented building is much appreciated by the pubic and therefore less likely to be demolished. Sustainability though dearness.