Funen | DeArchitektenCie | Amsterdam

  • masterplan: de Architekten Cie
  • architects: de Architekten Cie, Geurts + Schulze, Claus + Kaan, DKV, Lafour + Wijk, Van Sambeek + van Veen, Dick van Gameren, KuperCompagnons
  • the garden space on the interior of the block including Funenpark: Bram Breedveld & Martien van Osch of Landlab
  • hectares
  • 565 units (304 apartments, 247 townhouses)
  • 3.000 m2 offices
  • 2000 – 2005
  • building type: Perimeter block, Urban villa
  • no. floors: 2-9
  • dwelling types: flats & maisonettes
  • exterior finish materials: brick, concrete, tile, glass
  • construction type: concrete frame, steel frame (Slimline floor system)
  • ancillary services: 395 parking, 3000 sq. m office, public park
  • former industrial zone on the edge of Amsterdam’s city center
  • diverse typologies: the construction of perimeter blocks along two sides, with a novel interpretation of the ‘garden city’ model to their rear


  • the triangular site backs up to the existing neighborhood on one side, the Nieuwevaart canal along the south side, and a zone of curving elevated railroad tracks on the east side
  • the elevated railroad tracks along the east side presented a serious design problem. This was a wide curving swath of elevated tracks that passed just a few meters from the edge of the site. In addition to the noise, the elevated position meant that the trains were passing at the 2 or 3rd floor of the building. The tracks would dominate any view and the elevated position meant that pedestrian connection to the east at ground level was limited to existing streets tunneling under the tracks.
  • the master planning concept combined principles from perimeter block and garden city typologies
  • the south and east sides of the site with “ell”-shaped brick slabs, that defined an enclosed park area on the interior of the block. Extreme linear slabs are not new to the Amsterdam building scene and recent examples include the long slab by Tangram, the Dukaat + Zorro project in the De Aker district, 2002 and Rudy Uytenhaak’s nearby Rietlanden block finished the same year
  • open space is occupied by 16, free-standing individual “urban villas” that were organized on a discontinuous grid aligned with Cruquiustraat
  • cars parked in the basement of the perimeter slab so that the landscaped areas on the interior of the block is entirely for pedestrians
  • a wider swath of park area left between the existing buildings along the west side of the side and the edge of the urban villas
  • the buildings along the park adopt both the park and the Cruquiuskade alignment.
  • the site concept expressed as 4 distinct components:
    • “Funenpark”, a shared public open space along the west side of the site;
    • “Het Funen”, the zone of urban villas,
    • “Sporenboog” (curving arc), the slab curving along the east edge, and
    • “Cruquiustkade”, the slab facing the canal along the south side.
  • De Architekten Cie designed the two perimeter slabs
  • 9 other architects designed the villas


The villas:

  • the villas follow a fixed grid in the plan but vary in design, materials, and height, containing from 10 to 24 dwellings each and use a great variety of materials and details
  • reference to a rational order while following the model of free-standing elements in a garden setting
  • all are entered from the public garden space and all have ground floor dwellings, made possible by the strategy to park the cars under the perimeter block
  • in some way or other, all are derivative of Garden City notions of collective dwellings ensconced in an idealized natural landscape
  • the program required that 50% of the roof was terraced. The villas are seen dominantly from the upper levels of the perimeter block, so the landscaped roofs and terraces and walls of some of the buildings read as sculptural objects in the garden

The slabs:

  • the 6-9 story red brick walls that enclose two sides of the site and the recessed windows, the terracing, and the apartment thresholds and entrance lobbies along the garden are references to Amsterdam block typologies
  • a closer look at the façade reveals the range of dwellings types within and are a clue to the use of the Slimline (INFRA +)flooring system used in the construction. With this technology, steel floor joists are combined with a thin concrete slab to create a hollow floor system that is lighter and has a lower floor-to-floor height that incorporates the mechanical systems
  • the floor height is expressed on the exterior by the exposed steel edges of the floor
  • the garden wall of the Sporenboog facade is a very dynamic organization that uses an alternating pattern of full height brick panels or naturally finished wood windows of varied widths that are equipped with balustrades so they also function as balconies
  • the building terraces back with a wide terrace on top of the ground infill panels
  • the long linear walls are punctuated with glass entrance lobbies and several communal spaces
  • taller sections of the wall mark the ends and the corner intersection of the “L” and the section steps toward the garden with galleries and a terrace level above the ground floor commercial spaces on the garden side of the Cruquiuskade block
  • the innovative Slimline system was combined with vierendeel trusses to carry the loads of the floors above the Dutch Rail electrical substation that had to be built at the north end of Sporenboog
  • the sound and visual stress of the passing trains controlled by an acoustical glass veneer. Alternating wide and narrow strips of glass are applied obliquely to the edge of the floor slab, a few inches outside of the enclosing wall of the building. A special laminated glass designed to deflect sound away from the building is used in this second skin. Colored plastic film in different colors is laminated into the narrow glass strips resulting in an alternating pattern of rainbow colors that can be seen from passing trains. Several inches of air separate the sound zigzag layer from the wall of the apartments and this space can be ventilated by opening the narrow sections of glass. In addition to the second glass veneer there is a system of folding blinds to control the view. The result is a faceted, colored glass wall that mitigates noise and is constantly changing as light is reflected off the curving, crystalline form

Landscape design

  • the landscape design assumed a critical role in this process because it became the catalyst that bonded together this collection of interesting but idiosyncratic elements.
  • the design: a continuous mat of landscape between buildings with a meandering pattern of paved walkways rendered in a zig-zag pattern of walkways that define odd-shaped planters and lawns,
  • a large number of scattered trees
  • funenpark is equipped with special play and recreation equipment and courts.

Teams of architects

  • a large project is divided into manageable smaller pieces with one office assuming responsibility for the master plan and coordination, while the others are assigned smaller parts. This follows the pattern of the German Werkbund exhibitions of the 1920’s, and the Berlin IBA building exhibition of the late 1980’s
  • this strategy has the advantage of spreading the opportunities around for several architects but also results in control problems

How do these different architects work towards a unified result without being stifled by collective needs?

  • the perimeter block/urban villa concept De Architekten Cie was assigned the master planner role and the design of the perimeter buildings
  • a group of 9 other architects assumed the design of the urban villas
  • the master-planning footprint for the villas was predetermined, but each office had a lot of design freedom
  • the result is a regular pattern of very different buildings. They vary from 2 to 6 floors, contain between 10 and 24 apartments each, and use a great variety of materials and details


From the author:

  • An innovative urban development concept that combines living and working in high city-center densities with sufficient green space was devised for ‘Het Funen’, a former industrial zone on the edge of Amsterdam’s city center. It is a concept that incorporates the qualities of diverse typologies: the construction of perimeter blocks along two sides, with a novel interpretation of the ‘garden city’ model to their rear. The perimeter blocks shelter the inner grounds and simultaneously serve as a noise baffler for the railway behind them. The inner space is composed of a park landscape with a great diversity of smaller building types, each with a distinctive identity and programme. These ‘Hidden Delights’ were designed by various architects.
  • The blocks on the perimeter of ‘Het Funen’ serve as a noise baffler for the railway and reflect the dynamism of trains. The glass, scale-like sound barrier was attached to the building like a second skin. The colored panels recreate the rhythmic effect of a stroboscope, thus emphasizing the sense of speed. The southern elevation on the Cruquiuskade represents the ‘urban aspect’, with canal-side apartments and a street-level plinth of commercial space. The northern and western elevations form the scenic backdrop for the central area. Here the story-high ‘panels’ of masonry and the wooden window and door frames are distributed across the façades like a chessboard. Three large apertures in the structure offer a view of the harbor area and the railway line from within.


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