The future masterplan for the Sphinxquarter in Maastricht has a strong silhouette; a collection of elongated parcels with numerous building structures that lie hidden as a small city behind an imposing brick factory wall.
In the plan “Cascade”’, four substantial “warehouses”, divided by alleyways, rise behind this aged wall. Together they form a vertical unity, with articulated chimneys that refer in an abstract way to the recent history as factory.
The alleyways open up the warehouses and serve as single light shaft for the dwellings. The noise pollution, which is the main problem on the site, is quickly deflected and absorbed in the narrow alleyways, because they also double as a physical building noise reduction canal in which the noise level is reduced.
The new volumes encircle the existing Brikkenbuilding and define a new city chamber. The deep recesses on the southern side of the new “warehouses” offers place for the awnings and the window frames on the northern side protrude from the façade. These diverse recesses and the variety in the brickwork bonds gives a rhythm to the facades and enrich the interior of the city chamber.
The weight bearing facades of the “warehouses” have a span of 8 metres and offer the apartments a generic plan, which can be transformed according to the wishes of the occupant.
The windows in the alleys have an introspective character, since the facades of the adjoining warehouses is incorporated in the interior due to their proximity. The abstraction of the warehouses behind the factory wall changes at living level into a tactile palette of various hues of brickwork. The variation of both open and closed areas guarantees privacy, but the urban character, which includes the awareness of neighbours, is always manifest.