The last editorial dealt with the time based concept
for buildings where adaptability responded to the
need for change and variations. The concept actually
is centuries old but only came to the fore with
the advent of the office block. That in itself is nothing
new but some architects have taken the principle
of housing adaptability into forms which look
like offices. Why not ?
One of the best examples comes out of
the architectural practice of DKV Architects,
Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The project is a flexible
apartment building with a parking garage in
Slotervaart in the renewed Meer en Oever district of
Amsterdam. The cylinder shaped block is six and a
half meters above ground level. Situated near
water it can be conceived as similar to a water
tower. The architect Paul de Vroom states that with
this type of building weight should be minimized
hence the cylinder- like building has a steel construction
of columns and beams with a concrete
central core. The adaptability enables the dwelling
unit size to vary from 2 penthouse apartments (275
meters sq ) right the way through to six smaller units
(90 meters sq) all on one floor. Within each of
these units different floor plans can be made. This
project has been documented by Paul de Vroom in
TBA (Time Based Architecture) Volume 2.
Different but similar is the existing
Jaegersborg water tower in Denmark. This existing
water tower built in the fifties was transformed into
a mixed used building consisting of a youth centre
and small apartments. The architects were
Dorte Mandrup Architecs who won the competition
for the conversion in 2004. The water tower
has twelve supporting columns with a water tower
on top. This is still used as a water tower. The first
three floors make up a leisure centre. The small
apartments are located on floor four to floor eight.
Whilst each floor is independent from each other
they can be linked horizontally in many different
ways to make larger or smaller dwellings. Each unit
has it own capacity layout potential for variable
plan configurations. This project has been documented
by Dr. Bernard Leupen in TBA (Time Based
Architecture) Volume 1.
Both projects have two levels of decision
making, one for the support and one for the infill.
The support capacity in both cases allows for a
wide range of units sizes and user design inputs
generate variable floor plans. Making the support
interesting and inviting is a challenge and one
which is so well demonstrated here.
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