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    Nice and Narrow

    by Avi Friedman

    The Borneo Sporenburg development lies in one of Amsterdam's former working harbors. The city and West 8 Urban Design & Landscape Architecture planned an urban development with a density of 40 dwellings per acre (100 dwellings per hectare).

    The area was, therefore, subdivided into strips, and the block on which the Stuurmankade 266 to 304 townhouse project by KCAP was constructed is part of several elongated tracts of land.

    The block is 79 feet (24 meters) deep and unites the two extreme edges of the site. One side looks out across the water, while the other is part of an intimate, urban texture of narrow streets. The back-to-back dwellings are built above an internal street — a parking solution that enabled use of the ground-floor level for residential functions, which results in lively neighbor relations. The units also have patios and roof terraces, which are used as private outdoor spaces.

    Dwellings on the north side are oriented toward the water. With two-story glazed lower facades, they take advantage of the natural light and view. The south-facing dwellings are oriented toward the inner street. Their elevations have a more closed design to ensure privacy. They also have a roof terrace facing an alleyway, which accounts for the staggered frontage.   >>>

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    This article is excerpted from Narrow Houses by Avi Friedman, copyright © 2010, with permission of the publisher, Princeton Architectural Press.

     

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    KCAP Architects & Planners designed a 44-unit housing project within the Borneo Sporenburg development in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
    Photo: Ger van de Vlugt

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    The development occupies two former docks, named Borneo and Sporenburg respectively, in Amsterdam's Eastern Docklands (Oostelijk Havengebied). In the 1990s, West 8 designed a master plan for this 2,500-dwelling neighborhood, which includes buildings designed by many different architects.
    Photo: Ger van de Vlugt

     

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