The panoramic flats in Amsterdam – Ijburg came into being among the condition of various restrictions.
First important condition to understand the project is the Masterplan of Ijburg. It starts with the effort to build a city in the “classical” sense with an artificially introduced, seemingly historical division of the blocks. The front façades should somehow fit to the image of a 19th century bourgeois public and be entirely defined by living rooms behind them. Kitchens and sleeping rooms should be avoided here as good as possible. The façade should be developed around the corner equally; it should be set up with vertical accents that show the limits of the houses.
On the ground floor the typical Old - Amsterdam entrance stairs should be integrated. As façade materials natural stone and brick were to be used obligatory. The supervisor of block 14 where the Panoramic - apartments are situated furthermore prescribed the used yellowish brick with the coal dirtying.
The second important condition comes from the cost category where the Panoramic - apartments belong to: Social Housing. Apartment buildings in this category are in most of the cases characterized by being accessed through an outside gallery. The apartments are of about 90m2 each in size, the amount of sleeping rooms is two. Due to this basic set up two principle partitions for the plan are possible: version one, living room with the “Doorzon” - principle, reaching from the front up to the back façade, version two with the living room organized along the whole front façade as a panoramic room. The construction is usually set up with one bay per apartment with wide ax measures of more than seven meters. The façade has for budget reasons 40% glass and 60% of closed parts. The windows have to be cleaned from the inside.
The third important condition is the extraordinarily beautiful location of the project. The North side has splendid views over the IJmeer – lake, the Southern side lies towards a canal.
The view finally defines the typological set up of the building. The living rooms are located in full width of 9,6 m – two bays of 4,80 m – along the outside façade, to profit as good as possible from the Panoramic views. In order to emphasize this effect and to avoid disturbing columns or walls in the living room the function of the middle construction wall was here taken over by the load bearing front façade. The living rooms in the corner apartments get – next to the windows on the long side – even another window around the corner. To realize a façade that is as open as possible within the tight budget three pivot windows were used without partitions and with maximum dimensions of 2,60 m x 1,80 m.
Architecturally it has been tried to give the building as much as possible royalty, modernity and lightness despite the forcing conservative basic conditions. At the outside façade it has been tried consequently to work with exclusively pivot windows, vertically pivoted windows, fixed glazings and doors without any further partitions and with the same profiles. By that all the windows appear as entire large glass surfaces that span like a skin within the brick façade. All windows are detailed flat in the brick, above the windows invisible ventilation slits are integrated.
The brick formation is designed in stack bond. This formation has various architectural advantages. By the pure stacking of the stones it demonstrates that the wall is simply a non - load bearing cladding. By that it is also more than any other formation able to give the brick a great lightness in its appearance. Further the stack bond of the bricks is able to invisibly integrating brick dilatations into the regular joints. The brick was used consequently also at the monolithic entrance stairs in the ground floor.
All the sleeping rooms are located at the courtyard side. They are given 4,50 m wide fixed glazing windows to give the partly small rooms spatial royalty. The façade cladding consists out of timber strips, treated with an oil coating that connects well with the color of the steel handrails. To reach also here a maximum monolithic appearance the entrance doors of the apartments were covered with the same timber as well. The top gallery is covered with a steel pergola for sun protection to give the building an appropriate finish.
The project is finally a modest infill in a newly created urban system. Basically it can be regarded as an example of a “hidden” modernism. This “hidden” modernism has to break through a large amount of – surely well meant – restrictions. But in their essence these restrictions dictate first of all formalities for the outside of the buildings and complicate inner qualities rather than that to stimulate them.