Atelierwoningen in Amsterdam…

20 December 2011

Invited to Amsterdam to contribute to an atelier-salon on artists’ workhomes. The event, attended by artists, designers and intellectuals, took place in designers Paul Gangloff and Hilde Meer’s atelierwoningen [studio-apartment] in van Gool’s extraordinary and iconic 60s housing development, Het Breed.

Gangloff and Meer’s workhome is located in one of the ‘armpits’ of the scheme, where one of the snaking blocks changes direction by 90˚. Van Gool inserted an atelierwoningen at each such change of direction, as a way of resolving the lack of light in the centre of the block that would have been caused by turning the corner with a standard apartment. 

The scheme is made up of a jigsaw of different types of apartment, but no clues are given to the nature of the spaces behind the uninterrupted gridded elevations. Unlike other purpose-built artist’s studios [such as St Paul’s Studios in Talgarth Rd, London or Le Corbusier’s studio for Ozenfant] where studio spaces are clearly articulated through the use of glazing and changes in volume, the Het Breed atelierwoningen are not visible from outside. Their elevations are no different from those of two bedroom flats in the development.

The design philosophy behind this scheme for 1,150 apartments was that equal status should be given to each dwelling unit, large or small. One mechanism for achieving this was to make them indistinguishable from each other. While including a wide range of different sized apartments, as well as 20 atelierwoningen, the elevational treatment is identical for every unit. This was considered a form of democracy by the architects.

For another Amsterdam studio-apartment building, see Zomerdijkstraat Atelierwoningen.

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