Every project requires its own approach, of course, but the specific projects that our office the last 15-20 years has realized, have some characteristics which strongly associated with the reuse of existing(monumental) buildings.
We are simple and effective for restorations. Our solutions are designed to achieve a harmony between old and new, by carefully but with contemporary detailing and resources, to reflect the existing architecture. Only on strict functional (users) reasons changes in the monument are acceptable.
Through a wide variety of such respectable solutions, the architect office build up the name (and support) to Governmental Heritage Building, they know our respect for monuments, that means they permit operationally necessary interventions in monuments if reasonable.
The balance between the technical, aesthetic and functional needs in our projects are “leading” with the building principal as focal point: so to say functions follow the form, or functions on a “logical and proper place to achieve. This may also mean that, if there is one function already fixed, there may become bottlenecks in the existing buildings.
A lot is possible in many of the existing buildings, but not everything. Therefore the form follow function and may cause that realization of additional new building, to achieve these functions, is in some situations the best solution (e.g. underground gyms).
A combination of old buildings with new construction can provide the ideal solution to solve any bottlenecks in the program of the old building. Where new and old buildings can be combined, an optimal feasible completion of the program should be possible.
In many buildings is a financial, functional and aesthetic consideration in an early stage of great importance. Many of our contracts are established through so-called “feasibility studies”, a prior stage of the Preliminary Draft, with financial support and detailed recordings. This was often necessary for clients to take a final decision.
We have in generally been able to perform the realized works (if the Program Requirements not changed) with the budget figures of before the stage and always within a margin of ± 5%.
Role of the architect
The philosophy of the office is that the architect presents the role of the confidant of the principal. This means that he personally and intensively leads the complete construction process “from preliminary design, to implementation, from mainline to detail,”. His knowledge and expertise in cost control (budgets, specifications) are committed, and the architect is responsibility for the main organization, inclusive the integration of the installations.
In some special complicated situations we work together with the civil engineers (van Rossum, Idea Consult, AVW and Techpro). But even in that situation we retain the initiative and determine the main line. Architecturally and in details the photos of our work speaking their own language.
Projects saved from demolition
The warehouses Entrepotdok, the Oranje Nassau Kazerne (Barracks), the Graansilo’s (Grain Silos), Pakhuis the Zwijger, Cuypers churches and the Olympic Stadium (all in Amsterdam) all these buildings were nominated for demolition.
By doing a “stage”-feasibility study:
1) a good architectural recording and analysis;
2) by thoroughly analyzing the characteristic features and limitations of the buildings;
3) and by finding “appropriate” functions that correctly economic and spatial made use of the buildings,
it always proved to maintain all these buildings. These early studies were also a foothold in a very early stage and a key financial statements and responsibility to record
This approach, also applied to a more regular job situation like the ‘renewed’ use of monumental office buildings (e.g. the Droogbak Amsterdam),it gives good handles for analysis and use of the characteristic qualities of the buildings and spaces.
Our projects / designs speak for themselves: the affinity with the historical context, detail and integration in large and small scale, particularly by the finding of new destinations to buildings so that they become a lively part of the city and the environment. All projects on the site, designed to support our ideas and methods, are established in a context of participation, collaboration with neighborhoods / users, residents and of course the clients.