In this new business district of Amsterdam a mix of housing, offices and facilities is realized. A unique characteristic in the urban layout of the plan is that the different blocks are all conceived as separate 'urban palaces' with secondary buildings situated around a green semi-private urban space. This enhances a phaseable implementation of the total urban plan and creates a relatively small, distinctive urban grain. In 'Lot 4' the tower ‘Xavier’ and two ‘urban villas’ form a U-shaped block with an opening oriented to the south. This setup results at ground level in a relatively small-scale appearance.
The buildings designed by KENK architects consists of 160 apartments, of which the layout and interior finish can partly be determined by the inhabitants themselves. The tower consists of a mix of rental and owner-occupied apartments. The clients brief demanded a considerable range of apartment sizes. To stack these apartments vertically in the tower was one of the challenges in the design. The apartments increase in size upwards, ranging from 60 square meters on the lower floors up to a 345 m² penthouse in the crown. The apartments have extra high ceilings and maximum flexibility thanks to an ingenious construction.
Many of the commercial and office buildings in the area are designed with a characteristic feature that lets them stand out in the urban landscape. To mediate between these expressive icons we designed a building that explicitly claims its place among its neighbors and yet stands out as a genuine residential building.
The building has a classic tripartite division with a double high plinth with commercial spaces, a middle part and a crown. The facade consists of a grid of layered masonry with vertical windows. Gradually moving to the top of the building the facades become more transparent and the apartments will benefit from the view over the city. The stacking of different apartment types is made legible in the facades by 4 rings of surrounding balconies. This gives the tower a special articulation and a recognizable, iconic appearance, both from nearby and from the distant Amsterdam ring road. This articulation also ensures that residents can point out their individual dwelling within the overall block.
The use of high quality brickwork ensures a beautiful aging of the building and links its architecture to the Dutch building tradition. The facade scheme of the repetitive windows, the expressive balconies and the gray-tinted brickwork in various patterns give ‘Xavier’ a refined and also sturdy, metropolitan appearance.