Monday, May 31, 2010

Quay Housing

Quay Housing in Zierikzee, Netherlands by Kingma Roorda Architects

Text and images are courtesy Kingma Roorda Architects of Rotterdam; photographs are by René de Wit / Kingma Roorda Architects.

This project, situated just west of the historic center of Zierikzee, links up the existing neighborhood Poortambacht to the historic town. As a reaction to the specific character of the site and as a response to today’s diverging lifestyles, the design for this new quay, parallel to a canal, is a reinterpretation of the quay typologies that can be found through the provinces of Zeeland and Holland.

The colorful metal-clad apartment buildings stand out in the adjacent sea of individual quay houses we designed earlier. Both buildings, one at the end of the Singelkade and one midway the Kanaalkade [images featured here], interrupt the quay houses. For the design of the buildings we looked at old commercial warehouses in trading cities such as Venice, Bergen, New York and Zierikzee. Like prominent Venetian families who wished to distinguish themselves with obstinate palaces, both buildings are independent building volumes. The colors and the simple shape of the windows were borrowed from Bergen’s colorful warehouse architecture. The stately Venetian palazzo is fused with the sturdy Scandinavian warehouse.

At the outside both buildings present themselves as members of one family by their signature. Inside, the buildings offer a great variety of floor plans through their specific position on the quay. The design’s aim was to give a stately expression to this collective of apartments under one roof. We have pursued a signature that distinguishes itself as much as possible from the quay houses. It was of prime importance to make his difference as large as possible.

To heighten the design’s plasticity, the façades of the buildings were elaborated by means of a partly self-supporting grid of large thresholds and thin columns made out of aluminum. This grid-like surface relief seeks to nuance the contrast between the small size of the houses and the large size of the apartment buildings. Appearing only on the public sides of the buildings the framework underlines the dignity of the buildings. Through the coastal sunlight the filmy grid creates a vivid image of the building. While the buildings are prominently present at the quays, it is possible to look far away over the area from the upper floors. Here the view goes over the seawall to the Zeeland Bridge, towards the Oosterschelde.