At the end of May, we visited several Tangram projects in the city center of Amsterdam. Projects Crystal Court (2008) and Waterwoningen (1999), with the still relevant theme of ‘densification in the city’. Nature has taken its intended place in and around the buildings.

Regarding the projects:

Waterwoningen, Amsterdam De Aker, 18 energy-efficient water residences in an eco-zone, 1999, Tangram Architects In the De Aker neighborhood in Amsterdam-Osdorp, there is an ecological zone where eighteen water residences are carefully embedded. The residences were designed to disturb the local nature as little as possible. Instead of placing them directly on the water’s surface, the residences are situated on narrow ‘pedestals’ that cover only one-third of the floor area of the house above. The height of the pedestal is calculated to allow sufficient light and air to reach the water, thus not disturbing the aquatic habitat. Additionally, the roofs are greened to benefit the insects and birds in the area. Thus, the blocks contribute more to nature than what is taken away by the narrow pedestal.

Crystal Court, Amsterdam Buitenveldert, 36 stacked villas with terraces, water garden, and underground parking, 2008, Tangram Architects The location is perfect: on one side is the Gelderlandplein with its many amenities and shops, and on the other side is the Gijsbrecht van Amstelpark. Urban and green at the same time. On the relatively small site in the park lies the ‘residential sculpture’ Crystal Court: 36 stacked villas with beautiful wooden facades. The residences are stacked in four loosely linked tree structures, creating plenty of interspaces and minimizing the ground footprint. Despite the compact construction, this approach creates many open spaces with vistas and seamlessly integrates the complex into the park-like environment. Due to the high density, the ‘continuity of open space’ is an important aspect of the design, creating a synergy between the stacked volumes, the green surroundings, and the open space.