De Halve Maen: a symmetrical U-shaped apartment building in Amsterdam by Mecanoo

De Halve Maen, named after the vessel of the Dutch East India Company, is an apartment building part of the Overhoeks development. Attractive, high-quality, spacious homes have been created on the former Shell terrain, beautifully located on the north shore of the river IJ in Amsterdam. Mecanoo designed a symmetrical U-shaped building in a park area with a tall masonry plinth and tiered superstructure.

In contrast with the rigid structure of the urban plan, the design of De Halve Maen forms a subtle play between the symmetry and massing. The orientation of the residences, outdoor spaces, public courtyard and a division between lower and upper building forms are instrumental to this approach. The inspiration for the design and material selection were the elegant limestone buildings of Paris with their large doors, ornate wrought iron fences and zinc roofs. Wherever possible, the apartments have been given two (or more) sided orientation to provide maximum sunlight, resulting in an asymmetrical building layout and a variety of outdoor pocket spaces.

The entrance of the building connects to the courtyard and is located to the side of the courtyard. The facade of the substructure is six storeys. At the courtyard the facade extends seven, and further accentuating the height of the building. The remaining levels of the lower part of the building are five to six storeys. The staggered roofline, combined with vertical incisions and the transparent entrance hall combine to create a dynamic building. The facade is clad in gradations of warm yellow brickwork, with the balconies detailed in slender elegant railings. By embedding the double swinging doors into the facade, a French-style balconette with the same iron work has been created for each window. The top three floors create a unique idiosyncratic upper world. Extruding segments of the building envelope and adding volume elsewhere creates a sculpture of volumes that flow into one another. Twenty special penthouses with large roof gardens are located on these floors.

Opening the large doors on a sunny day gives the feeling of already being outside. On colder days, the floor-to-ceiling windows allow for an abundance of daylight. A large variety of floor plans (53 to 136m2) offer a freedom of choice to the tenants, and therefore creates a diverse range of residents.






Design © Mecanoo

Info and images courtesy of Mecanoo

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