The site of Amsterdam’s former municipal waterworks has been transformed into an eco-friendly and pedestrian-friendly residential area with a density of 100 homes per hectare. The urban plan designed for this area by KCAP prescribed not only the contours of the building masses but also the materials to be used. It also specified the typologies. The buildings on the GWL site have been designed by five different architecture firms. MVSA were commissioned for six blocks comprising a total of 130 units.
Five of the six blocks have an elevated internal street – a combined corridor and gallery – which gives access to the units on the upper floors, which are a mix of apartments and maisonettes. These internal streets form a transition between the private domain of the homes and the public zone.
One of the blocks differs from the rest in its programme, typology and appearance. ‘Block 5’, as it is known, was designed as a cluster residence for elderly residents. The largely open ground floor contains the communal space and a business space. Above this there are 24 apartments with living quarters on the south side of the block. The entrances to the units are reached through wide galleries on the north side of the block, which are screened from the street by a facade of glass slats.