Architects are asked on one hand to produce very neutral and anonymous buildings that can be changed easily, are able to react on changing economic situations and are adaptable to different programs. On the other hand at the same time, they are asked to create very specific buildings that are easy to identify, possessing pleasant form with unique spaces and can be enjoyed by the users. Atelier Kempe Thill takes this modern paradox very consciously as the point of departure of the work. The office is by this able to create structures that are neutral and economic as well as being enjoyable and innovative.
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Since the nineties, a large urban renewal project is in progress in which the poorly maintained buildings are subsequently demolished and are replaced by new ones. An attempt is made to eliminate the urban problems of the CIAM planning while nevertheless maintaining its qualities. One of these qualities is the green, lush areas between the building blocks. The task was to integrate the small building as carefully as possible in the existing tree population, to keep enough distance to the adjacent building blocks and to design a monumental, polydirectional and well visible free-standing building.
Two room types The realized building consists of the simple stacking of two — diametrically opposed — concepts of space. The ground floor level is designed as a flat sandwich-space, which opens up completely to the surroundings thanks to the glazing on all sides.
The public green with its dominated tree canopy becomes part of the interior and generously extends the small space to the outside. This effect is enhanced by the modest interior design and the greyish colour scheme.
On the upper floor is the Community Hall. Its desired, very neutral appearance is offset by its generous ceiling height and two skylights that illuminated the space naturally. The room is deliberately kept modest with whitish colours in order to maximize the effect of the skylights on the interior. With this, the hall is given a very specific character without limiting its multi-functionality. The combination of these two room types, the open and closed space, determines the appearance and character of the building.
On the inside, the contrast between the two room constellations determines the perception and surprises, as the fully enclosed room is much brighter than the fully opened.
Cheap-tech As usual in these projects, the available construction budget was very low. In order to realise a spatially appealing building within this framework, it was necessary to apply a variety of very cost-efficient construction methods. Like a cheap industrial compound, the building is made of a steel frame structure with a wall infill of sand-lime brick. All technical installations are integrated in the walls and the floors, so no lowered ceilings where necessary, which contributes to higher rooms.
The glass facade is made from an inexpensive all-glass system, which uses large glass pannels up to 5 meters in length, clamped only on two sides with a 5cm high steel profile. The structural glazing doors were specifically designed for this project.
The insulation is sprayed onto the sand-lime brick in liquid form and froths up on-site. Then, the very rough surface is finished with an UV protective coating.
The interior is governed by a similar economic and creative approach. The slightly rough concrete floor is only coated with a layer of polyurethane; the ceiling is covered with an acoustic spray plaster. Contrarily to this, large reflective interior glazing, smooth industrial lights and two elegant steel staircases were installed.
“Zilverzijde” Social Housing / Atelier Kempe Thill
Radical Tabula Rasa In , Atelier Kempe Thill is commissioned to design Block 10 in the Moerwijk neighborhood of The Hague with eighty-eight apartments and twenty-seven terraced houses as the result of a negotiation procedure by Vestia, the largest building corporation in the Netherlands. Save this picture! Situation Moerwijk is a typical restructuring area with residential buildings from the nineteen-sixties, as also exist in many large cities in the Netherlands. Also here, the city and housing corporations agreed on the comprehensive demolition of the entire area rather than renovation of the existing buildings.
Atelier Kempe Thill