Zuidas as a residential area
The Amsterdam Zuidas is known as a national and international business district. A first-rate office location thanks to its proximity to Schiphol and Amsterdam city centre. In the Zuidas Vision 2030, the municipality of Amsterdam indicates that it wants to develop the business area into a mixed city equally attractive for living. A first step has been taken with the development of the Gershwin strip. The aim for this housing program was to create a healthy, clean and compact metropolitan living environment. Within a tight plot at the tip of this strip, LEVS designed two buildings with 160 homes, 200 parking spaces and commercial facilities in the plinth.
Stand alone or together?
A diversity of architectural designs characterises the Zuidas. In a checkerboard pattern, low and high buildings alternate. Instead of approaching the two assignments as completely separate, we let the buildings communicate with each other. Sunlight, views and urban orientation have determined the specific sculptural forms of both volumes.
The result is two carefully laid-out buildings that are connected to each other, to the landscaped courtyards on the canal and to the residential buildings across the street. By harmonizing the buildings architecturally, the bond between the sturdy corner building George and the more monumental brother Ira on the Gershwinlaan becomes evident.
Crossroads of architectural styles
Both buildings stand at a crossroads of architectural styles. To the south of George lies Buitenveldert, a post-war residential area characterised by portico-blocks. George takes its inspiration from this style, and has wide bands of handcrafted concrete and large-format bricks in a light colour scheme. A tough and powerful appearance that fits its setting.
Above a two-storey plinth, wide horizontal concrete bands form a solid volume. Four "pillars" of balconies with glass intertwine the central section. The building ends on a lighter note, with a double storey crown-like façade.
Ira responds to the monumental brick architecture of the Amsterdam School in Berlage's 101-year-old urban plan for the area, called Plan-Zuid. This strongly layered building consists of brickwork in two warm colours, and narrow concrete bands. Its horizontal and vertical articulation interweaves the piers.
Thanks to our close collaboration with the ambitious client, the materialisation is of such quality that both buildings will enjoy a metropolitan allure not only today, but well into the future.
The taller building, George, has been given a special finish. A conceptual artwork by Dutch Artist Jeroen Henneman was placed on the rooftop. Titled ’De Doos,’ or the box, it is a two-dimensional representation of the three-dimensional figure of an opened cardboard box. Because the contours are drawn in the sky, passer-by’s from all directions see a three-dimensional figure. It is a wonderful reflection of the fact that George and Ira too are interesting and intriguing from all sides.
The Gershwin Brothers mainly consist of medium-priced rental properties. Most apartments in the corner building are between fifty to sixty square meter in size. The double-height transparent restaurant space on the ground floor of George, by the water, is inviting and can serve as a public anchor point for the new neighbourhood.
Ira benefits from the peace and quiet behind its bigger brother. It consists of intricately layered three-room rental apartments of 75 square meter and penthouses with generous, south-facing terraces. The gallery is located on the landscaped private courtyard with a view of the water. The Gershwinlaan provides access to a two-storey underground parking garage with private spaces for residents and surrounding offices. Greenery on the lower roofs of George and solar panels on the upper parts of both buildings make an essential contribution to the sustainability of the project.
George and Ira are true metropolitan brothers. Resembling one another, differing in character, alternating attitudes to their surrounding environment yet sharing an enviable proximity. They are a modest yet stylish duo. Singing the song of ages in this new and exciting area of Amsterdam.