New West is a mixed-use development in Amsterdam Nieuw-West with 80 housing and 11 commercial units and an underground parking garage. The building is the result of a municipal tender process aimed at diversifying the local population and ‘improving social coherence’. The project is part of the urban redevelopment of the Overtoomse Veld, a zone within Van Eesteren’s paradigmatic ‘General Extension Plan’ (AUP, 1934), exemplifying Modernist principles of urban planning.
The volumetric organization consists of an urban plinth above which three housing blocks frame a central collective space, emphasizing the building’s urban orientation onto the adjacent boulevard and allowing for visual see-troughs.
Around half of the dwelling units are conceived as generic, double-height casco apartments, two-thirds have custom-designed and -built layouts in collaboration with the future residents, and one-third consists of rental units. The apartments have an average footprint of 65 m2, and vary between 45 and 180 m2. The double-height apartments have two cross-directional built-in steel beams as structural basis for various mezzanine floor forms.
Most of the apartments are reached by galleries encircling the central courtyard. The transitions between private domesticity, communal zones, and public realm are richly differentiated and include gallery balconies coupled with two apartment entrance doors, three gallery platforms with distinctive vegetation, including one for communal urban farming, a courtyard water retention garden above the plinth, and a sunken atrium.
The all-side oriented plinth houses a coffee lounge, a city library branch, a kindergarten, and a non-profit art space addressing the encounter between Western and North-African cultures and resulting from close collaboration between the architects, a group of artists and curators, the developer, and the municipality.
The architectural expression of New West mediates between the repetition of individual units at its exterior, articulated by a plastic grid of prefab concrete panels, in its alteration of rhythms playfully referring to the location’s Modernist identity, and the singular central collective room, a micro- landscape and –climate framed by colored, reflecting glass panels, reminiscent of the location’s pre-Modernist history as small-scale polderlandschap just two generations ago.
Completion is expected in spring 2020.