In the original plan for the Kolenkit neighbourhood, classical ideas of architecture merge with the modern ideal of ‘air, light and space’. The plan for the redevelopment of the neighbourhood is based on the continuity of these principles. A framework of leafy streets follows the main lines of the existing urban structure and accommodates both existing buildings and new development. The existing street profile is improved by the creation of a transitional zone between the street and building that is in keeping with the tradition of mediating spaces between the public and private realm.
The development consists of six buildings arranged around a shared garden and public courtyard. Beneath the courtyard and the buildings lies a semi-underground car park. Each building contains a range of dwelling types, both owner-occupied and subsidised rental. The new buildings maintain the scale of their neighbours and are composed of the same elements: a raised plinth, elaborated roof edges and articulated corners. Raising the dwellings half a storey establishes a relationship between the houses and the street similar to that found on the canals of Amsterdam: visually connected while maintaining privacy.
The expression of individual dwellings and programmatic variations are subordinate to the overall expression of the block. The façades are defined by a consistent rhythm of floor to ceiling windows that is modulated by variations in the window reveals on different floors. The intermediate scale of the volumes is articulated by the treatment of differences in roof heights, balconies, staircases and entrances. Windowsills, horizontal bands and lintels of light, acid-treated concrete stand out against the yellow-hued brickwork. Balustrades feature a distinctive ‘arabesque’ pattern of interlocking letters that echo the 19th century and early 20th-century tradition of ornaments with oriental motifs in Amsterdam.