Silodam (Housing Silo)
The Housing Silo is situated on the IJ River, at the tip of the pier, next to two former grain warehouses (silos) that have been converted. The IJ River served as Amsterdam’s harbor in the golden age.
Then, when the harbor fell into a decline, the buildings, warehouses, and shipyards were left unused.
In the 1980s, when Amsterdam had a housing shortage, the city regained interest in the river’s potentials and a variety of restructuring projects, where the designers tried to fuse the remaining structure and character of the harbor with new architecture, followed.
The 157 apartments, business units and public spaces, in the Housing Silo, are compressed within a 10 story high and 20 meters deep urban envelope. The apartments, rental and owner in different sizes, are stacked in internally connected neighborhoods.
Each “house” differs, both in orientation and size; they can be half a block, a whole block, or diagonal over two floors, some with terraces or balconies others with patios.
The apartments are not only different in size and color, but also by the placement of the interior walls that can be moved and replaced by future inhabitants.
These groups of 4 to 8 “houses”, of the same type, are recognizable by the treatment of the elevations and the colors used in the corridors.
Because of the various materials and colors the neighborhoods are also recognizable from the exterior of the building.
On the west side of the building the dam has been “pulled” through the under a large balcony, with magnificent views of the IJ, that can be used by all residents. The business spaces underneath the balcony share the same views.
Residents can walk through the building, passing different facades and roof tops, under the building through the hall to the terrace, or along the marina where boats can be docked.
Within the tight urban, structural and building regulation boundaries, the limits put onto it by the desires and imagination of government, clients, city, inhabitants and designers, the building indexes the interaction between restriction and innovation.