Open House

Open House

Shift architecture urbanism
Amsterdam, Netherlands | View Map
Project Year
Private Houses
René de Wit

Open House

Shift architecture urbanism as Architects

Shift architecture urbanism has redesigned an historic family house in the "Indies Neighborhood" of Amsterdam to maximize its relationship with both the street and its garden. A multifunctional wall cabinet, 14 meters in length, plays a key role in opening up the ground floor. This furniture element contains all servant functions, allowing for one open and flexible space for living that spans between street and garden.

The relation to the street is emphasized by the absence of an entrance hall: one enters the house directly into the open living space. Thus, the house is linked to the attractive sidewalk with its vertical gardens, typical for Amsterdam. The seamless continuation of indoor living area into the private garden is strengthened by extending the wall cabinet into the garden to define a private terrace.

The juxtaposition of three contrasting finishes for the cabinet differentiates the main living space. Each material provides the space with a specific character that connects to its use: a warm plywood for the living, a sanitary pink laminate for the kitchen and dining area, and a weather resistant anodized aluminum for the terrace.

The plywood section of the cabinet integrates a small winter-entrance, a stair, TV & audio and a wardrobe. The part in pink laminate contains kitchen appliances and cupboards. Its arch-shape makes room for a recessed kitchen in black MDF. The last piece in natural aluminum accommodates a toilet and a garden storage. The aluminum cladding reflects the garden vegetation back into the house, enhancing the experience of the private garden, a true luxury in the old neighborhoods of Amsterdam.

In contrast to the common use and open character of the ground floor, the two upper floors are divided for a functional layout of individual rooms for this young family. The first floor contains a working space, a master bedroom with walk-in-closet and a bathroom for the parents. The second floor contains three small bedrooms and a second bathroom for their three kids.

Open House is an example of how the Dutch inner city housing stock can be adapted to the needs and desires of young families with kids, avoiding them to flee the city for its lack of (outdoor) space and appropriate dwellings. Urban residential areas such as the "Indies Neighborhood" should house multiple generations, cultures and incomes to remain attractive and socially sustainable.

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