Economical Wooden Building: Row House in Amsterdam
Client: Familie Visser/Harms
Structural engineer: Pieters Bouwtechniek
Crosslaminated timber: Metsä Wood Holland
Location: Kea Boumanstraat 122, NL–Amsterdam
In the middle of the Dutch housing crisis, this architect couple and their two children looked for a suitable plot of land for their own home. They found one in a new residential area on Zeeburgereiland. This artificial island, created at the beginning of the 20th century, was previously used as a military area. Currently, it is being transformed into a residential zone. For the architects, the attraction of the conventional row-house lot lay in its minimal building regulations. Only the maximum volume and outer edges of the future house had been determined, leaving a great degree of design freedom. The area to be built measured exactly 6 X 13 metres.
The house is organized over four levels linked by single-flight staircases. While the communal living spaces are distributed over the ground floor and the second upper level, the bedrooms are located on the first and third upper storeys. Generous glazing opens the house on two sides: northeast to the street and the water, and southwest towards the garden. On this side, the balconies provide both shelter from the sun and privacy from the house next door, which has yet to be built.
For their house, the architects chose to use massive cross-laminated elements reinforced by steel joists and supports, as well as the steel balcony structure on the southwest side of the structure.
Crucial factors in this wooden construction were the short building time and concomitant savings. Within three weeks, the construction of prefab wooden elements had been erected. All further work, such as the installation of windows and stairways and the interior of the house as a whole, took eight more weeks, meaning that the entire building time lasted no more than three months. The crosslaminated timber has also been used to clad the surfaces of the ceilings and walls; it can be experienced in the interior spaces of the house.