Domūs Houthaven

apartement complex with collective facilities

Domūs Houthaven is a residential ensemble featuring 235 smart compact apartments and an array of shared facilities on a plinth of commercial spaces The complex is designed as a family of interconnected blocks surrounding a raised common courtyard. The interconnectedness and the high-quality, everyday-use collective facilities encourage interaction among residents. In Domus, you live alone, or as a couple, without being alone.

The ensemble forms the final keystone of the superblock on the northwest edge of Amsterdam’s Houthaven, which is in the process of being developed into a new residential neighborhood.

 

Domūs Houthaven is the first realization of Domūs Living, an innovative urban concept developed by Shift, Synchroon and …,staat creative agency. Domūs Living combines compact apartments with the benefits of shared amenities, public services and a community nearby. It enables sustainable high-density residential buildings that use space, energy and materials efficiently. The concept targets the growing group of one and two persons households that put social contacts and experiences above ownership. They are open to different forms of sharing, not only because it is sustainable but also because it is fun and valuable. For example, because it prevents loneliness. Domūs is also responding to the growing group of people who like to work “from home not from home”.

 

view from Spaarndammerwijk
view from Spaarndammerwijk

The volumetric design of the project follows the principle of unity in diversity. The individual blocks with an own grain size, facade rhytm and color feature distinct apartment typologies and access. This differentiation enables identification with one’s own home within the large-scale complex and reduces the project to a scale consistent with the characteristic grain size of the new urban district.

 

the ten stories high volumes towards the harbour act as a noise buffer for the rest of the neighborhood
the ten stories high volumes towards the harbour act as a noise buffer for the rest of the neighborhood
entrances are situated inbetween the blocks
entrances are situated inbetween the blocks

To strengthen the cohesion between the different building volumes, they share the same architectural DNA. The choice of rational brick volumes with generous facade openings and robust detailing refers to both the adjoining historic Spaarndammerwijk as to the industrial character of the harbor area. Each building volume has its own masonry grid with varying depths of recesses. These grids bring together mass and transparency in such a way that daylight, views and privacy are tailored to the specific type of apartment per block.

sound-absorbing niches for ventilation give the characteristic plasticity to the facades
sound-absorbing niches for ventilation give the characteristic plasticity to the facades
plan of decklevel with communal garden and living room
plan of decklevel with communal garden and living room

The building volumes are visually separated and at the same time physically connected by a common circulation space. Placing the blocks slightly apart creates entrances and corridors with plenty of daylight.  Not only do they connect all the dwellings, they also open up a range of communal facilities as well as the communal courtyard garden for all residents.  Placing 2 blocks further apart on the south side creates an opening that provides the courtyard garden with sunlight and views. To maintain connectedness within the ensemble, the gap is bridged by an aerial bridge on the fifth floor.

communal garden
communal garden
communal facilities: entrance halls, cafe, garden, living room, garage, roof pavilion
communal facilities: entrance halls, cafe, garden, living room, garage, roof pavilion

The communal facilities are geared toward various forms of everyday use. All residents have access to a multifunctional living and work room on the communal courtyard garden and a spacious cooking studio with roof terrace on the fifth floor. The living and work room forms the social heart of the residential ensemble. The space is open and flexible in character and at the same time homely. Shift designed 4 large fixed pieces of furniture that function as room dividers. They create different places and allow multiple activities simultaneously without affecting the continuity of the space. People work, eat, play and hang out. In addition, both large and small group activities take place. The integration of a laundromat and the manager’s office bring additional hustle and bustle.

The roof pavilion accessible via the air bridge houses a cooking studio and a guesthouse. The cooking studio is designed as a glass house with an unobstructed view of the Spaarndammer neighborhood. It is equipped with a professional cooking island and seating for groups both inside and outside on the roof terrace. The guest room is equipped with a bathroom allowing residents to have their guests stay here independently. In the belly of the building, under the communal garden, is a generous bike shed for nearly 500 bikes and a double-level parking garage with 70 parking spaces including 5 for shared cars.

modular furniture elements differently combined for various apartment typologies
modular furniture elements differently combined for various apartment typologies

Spaciousness and flexibility, despite their relatively compact surface (between 43 and 60m2), were the main concern in designing all apartment types. They all contain a smart living core consisting of a configuration of modules for (open) kitchen, bathroom, closet space and bed alcove. In this way, the remaining space, the actual living space, is maximized both in size and in terms of use. Each module of the smart core has its own color. This gives the furniture a sculptural effect that underlines and enhances the specific character of each apartment type. The polychrome piece of furniture thus exploits the possibilities of hpl (high pressure laminate) and contrasts with the concrete ceiling which, on the contrary, is very architectural in nature.

typical East-West oriented apartment with one central living area
typical East-West oriented apartment with one central living area
typical North-South oriented apartment with two living areas
typical North-South oriented apartment with two living areas

The alcove bed frees the home from a bedroom without lapsing into the solution of a regular studio apartment where you actually live in your bedroom. When the alcove doors are closed, you have one large living space. Once the perforated doors of the alcove are open, the space transforms into one large bedroom. Such a solution makes maximum use of the fact that the privacy offered by separate bedroom is not an issue in single-person household or cohabiting couples.

The plinth of the ensemble seeks to connect with the neighborhood by providing spaces for public amenities. The first functions to appear here soon will be a gym, a daycare center and a Domus café. This café is connected to the collective living and working space and establishes a symbiotic relationship with it.

Credits

  • Assignment

    apartement complex with collective facilities

  • Year 2017-2022
  • Client

    Synchroon BV

  • Location Amsterdam
  • Program 235 apartments
  • Size 22000 m2
  • Status completed
  • Team
    • Thijs van Bijsterveldt
    • Oana Rades
    • Harm Timmermans
    • Martyna Drys
    • Paul Voorbergen
    • Philip de Klerk
    • Marinda Verschoor
    • Yang Bai
  • Structural engineer

    ABT Delft, Vericon

  • Technical engineer

    ABT Delft

  • Building physics

    ABT Delft

  • Fire safety

    ABT Delft

  • Construction

    Van Wijnen Haarlemermeer

  • Furniture maker

    Blom interieurs

  • Landscape

    Flux Landscape

  • Photography

    Pim Top, René de Wit

  • Publication