BSH20A ‘Stories’ is a mixed-use residential tower in post-industrial Amsterdam Buiksloterham with 35 housing and commercial units and an on-ground parking garage. It is located in a former industrial harbor area that has become part of an ambitious plan of the Municipality of Amsterdam, requesting new buildings to contribute to a circular form of urban development. It occupies an exposed lot marking the intersection of a main street and a former industrial harbor basin. Stories is the result of a municipal selection process for an ensemble of six collective self-build projects and the subsequent, close collaboration between the owners association of future residents, architect, and contractor.
The building fills the given envelope and consists of two volumes. The plinth of 11 m height consists of a conventional prefab concrete structure and forms the basis for a 45 m high tower made completely of a prefab CLT (cross-laminated timber) plate construction (with the exception of a prefab concrete core).
The timber construction determines the bay width of 4,50 m, leading to a tower floorplan spanning over 6 adjacent bays. The CLT-walls have large cut-outs that allow for spatial connection across the bays, facilitating flexible partition, and allowing potentially for one to six individual units per floor. The walls are clad with fire-resistant plasterboard (120 minutes fire resistant). The floors (60 minutes fire resistant) are equally made of CLT-plate and are exposed as timber ceilings on the floors below. The floors carry a limestone gravel mass layer for acoustic insulation, thermal insulation layer, floor heating layer, and the top floor. Three shafts are placed in such way as to allow for maximal flexibility in apartment layout variation. Sewerage installation and mechanical heat recovery ventilation are placed in direct connection and proximity to the shafts. Water and electricity control cupboards are positioned outside individual apartments as part of the core.
In its current configuration, Stories contains 29 apartments ranging from 43–185 m2 size, many combined with working spaces facilitating living/ working combinations, forming ten different apartment types and consisting of single and double-height units. Ceiling height is 2,87 m respectively 6,12 m.
Yet Stories does not only provide private space but addresses collective urban living. An enveloping steel structure contains extensive outdoor spaces in the form of private balconies and winter gardens, a communal roof for urban farming that is connected to a shared, multifunctional indoor space, and 57 double-height vegetation units. The larger ones of these are niches for trees, bushes, grasses, and related animal life. They act as privacy screens between individual units, operate as infrastructure providing a healthy environment and microclimate, enrich the local urban biodiversity, and add seasonal, soft and sensual expression to the building. Stories provides habitat for an expanded collective of humans and non-humans.
Additionally, the owners association is working on setting up a collaborative, neighborhood-related coffee place in its plinth that is conceived as meeting place for old and new inhabitants, workers and residents, and stories and other narratives. Completion is expected for the end of 2020.