Six towers with a total of 243 apartments were built at the edge of the City Park Zuidwestkwadrant. At the urban scale these ten-story buildings define the western edge of the park, clearly visible from afar. At the pedestrian level they connect the park and the neighbourhood beyond.
Parking garages link two towers underground. The ground floors contain retail spaces and entrance lobbies to the apartments. These can be reached through a public front yard leading up to a portico that links both lobbies.
Landscaping was required for two areas: the entrance area at street level and the roof of the commercial ground floor.
The front yards are supported by the parking garage roof. It is part of the building’s ground floor and strong enough to support a substrate of two feet. This gives enough growing potential for plants and small trees to make these yards into real gardens. Being two feet above street level also distinguishes the green and eliminates a need for fences.
The roof of the commercial spaces are sturdy enough to support themselves, but not much more. Yet more than a hundred apartments look from above onto these surfaces, all the size of a tennis court. A lightweight solution was needed for landscaping the roofs.
When a roof can’t support a garden, it at least should be interesting to look at. The surface is covered with dark colored gravel, interspersed with pillarguri, a Norwegian slate. On top of that each stony surface features a sign inspired by Arabic calligraphy made of oak planks that will weather in time. As in a real garden, the passing of seasons and years can be seen from above.
The slightly raised front gardens are covered with perennials and wild bulbs that provide a tapestry which blooms and changes all year. At eye level only trunks of small trees are in view.
A green environment made of ground covering and a canopy of elegant shrubbery leads up to each entrance portico. All three entrance courts are identified by a different species: magnolia, currant and dogwood.
Endry van Velzen
DE Nijl Arechitects