LEVS Echtenstein impressie6 min


Sustainable new identity in South-East

Echte-Stein, Amsterdam

On the eastern end of the E-buurt in Amsterdam South-East, we are turning an anonymous and disused open field into a safe, nature-inclusive living environment for a vulnerable target group. The Rochdale housing association is developing a combination of sheltered housing and a social program in the plinth. Our design seeks to connect the past, present and future of the neighbourhood, while also smartly integrating solutions for a healthier living environment and lower CO₂ emissions.

History of a changing Neighborhood

All the characteristic aspects of the Bijlmermeer come together at this special location: on one side are the remains of an old honeycomb flat with an older low-rise district next to it. On the other side are the spacious motorways and exits along the Gooiseweg. In between, a relatively open area remains, which calls for an identity that fits in with the history of this place and sets the tone for its future.

A safe green environment to live in

We place the volume in such a way that an intimate and pleasant neighborhood garden with a human dimension is created. Around the exterior facade, a grid of balconies and columns leads the greenery up from the park. This creates a relaxed atmosphere around the main entrance that welcomes the various users.

On the ground floor there is room for a social program for the neighbourhood, for example in the form of additional training rooms or a day care. The housing program focuses on residents with different types and sizes of supporting needs: we design spacious, comfortable apartments with an outdoor area for everyone.

Architectural renewal

In the facade design we refer to the cultural patchwork of the South-East district, with a variegated checkerboard pattern of brick. We combine architectural elements from the surrounding buildings into a logical whole that can last for a long time and even set the tone for further innovation in the area.


Sustainable building: residual bricks, water roof, installation-free

In order to take an active step in reducing CO2 emissions from construction, we looked for alternative materials. This is how we came up with the idea of using leftover bricks. We save the energy needed to bake new bricks, and compared to recycled bricks, we save the energy needed for grinding, mixing and re-firing. At the moment, 'reuse' does not yet exist as a category in the MPG. But assuming a number of simplified standard values, we can say that we roughly save 100 tons of CO2 emissions.

Furthermore, large windows ensure that optimal heat from a low sun is brought in in the winter months, while the overhang of the balconies provides cooling shade in the summer. This way we do not need active cooling and we comply with the BENG standards with passive means.

The roof functions as an active water collector and a location for solar panels. During the summer months a constant layer of water can be retained on the water roof. Solar panels directly supply electricity to the households.