Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Qube in Amsterdam, Netherlands by NL Architects
January 27th, 2013 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: NL Architects
Qube is a commission for an office building in Amsterdam. Qube is part of a development called IJpunt by G&S Vastgoed. IJpunt will consist of four blocks designed by Claus en Kaan, Dedato, MVSA and NL A.
The site is truly unique: the most western corner of the Minervahaven, overlooking the Mercuriushaven and the river IJ. Well connected to both the city center as the rest of the world, both by car, public transport and bike.
The setting is overwhelming: dynamic, raw, lively, industrial and industrious.
The Port of Amsterdam is in a perpetual process of transformation. Due to scale enlargements harbor activities migrate from east to west – towards the Sea. This has already opened up large areas for new developments. Beside the already existing port industry the environment becomes more and more a complex ‘urban ecology’. This implicates an amalgam of functions: living, education, working, culture and leisure.
The Houthavens, the former ‘wood port’, now will be turned into a residential area. The creative industry will find an exciting biotope around here as well. Although this part of the port is being domesticated, it still forms an ‘edgy’ alternative for the increasingly cultivated inner city. The port is becoming the energetic alter ego of Amsterdam.
Building a regular office slab with conventional dimensions would create a lot of ‘back side’. Qube however contracts into a compact block, preserving some of the views, while at the same time exploring the potential of large floor slabs.
Qube aspires to optimize the panoramas from within while at the same time granting the neighbors a view.
The starting point is a massive block, an extruded square of 30 by 30 meters, six stories high.
A series of transformations create programmatic optimizations: the block is partly excavated, locally extended. Each floor as such has several specific features: loggia, bay window and balcony. A large number of ‘corner offices’ comes into being.
The blocky shape generates a form of all-sidedness; the volume as such acquires the properties of a villa, an abstract villa.
The cubical volume is very efficient in terms of the relationship of skin versus content. But sufficient daylight might proof problematic; plenty of artificial light soon becomes a necessity.
By introducing high ceilings and double-high loggias daylight can penetrate deep into the building.
The so called ‘concrete core activation’ provides both heating and cooling. This energy friendly system has a pleasant side effect: no fake ceilings can be installed. The building is bound to remain industrial: ‘raw’ and ‘pure’.
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