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104 Apartments, Schiedam

This long curved block is part of a larger urban design on the Hollandia site in Schiedam. In 1993, 75 city houses had already been realised here. For KCAP architects, I worked on the drawings for the final design in 1996. This long (100m1) curved block consists of four repeating straight building blocks that are connected at an angle (5 gr).

At the time of the construction of this block, the requirements imposed on escape routes were tightened by the fire department. In this project, the (flight) stairwell can only be accessed via a short outdoor gallery, and the staircase can also be reached from any apartment in two different ways. 

Curious about this project was the double building wall with a hollow space in between. I do not know if this has been made, but I thought that was a strange solution. Only on the ground floor is this wedge-shaped space used as a flight corridor for the storage corridors.

For me, it was also the first acquaintance with the masonry facades worn by steal lintels. The solution chosen here shows that the bottom stone is not level on the lintel, which gives a somewhat unstable picture.

What has been learned from this project is the ingenious way to connect many houses to a single staircase while the block is about 25 meters long. As a result, two unique homes have been created whereby you first arrive at the living room through the bedroom hallway. Something that I would not consider soon. It is also interesting how using balconies and roof terraces creates a varied façade.

Beautiful complex apartments, especially the houses on the highest floors, have large roof terraces. Some apartments have almost 90 m2 of it.

While I took a few photos, I was approached by one of the board members of the VVE, who told me about the problems in the complex. One of the things that they have dealt with differently is that part of the window frames on the sunny south facade are now painted white instead of dark grey. The dark colour and the resulting heat caused many cracks in the paintwork, leading to wooden frame rotting. 

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