Amsterdam architecture resonates around the world

Though most renowned for its historic city centre, Amsterdam continues to develop in terms of architecture, with many new buildings having recently won major international prizes.

For example, the Joolz Headquarters (designed by Space Encounters) and the Calvin Klein / Tommy Hilfiger European headquarters (designed by MVSA Architects) both won prizes in the International Architecture Awards 2017, in the category of corporate buildings. The new Joolz office is located in a former industrial building in Amsterdam Noord, with a large open space on the ground floor that integrates the building with its surroundings. Likewise, the Calvin Klein / Tommy Hilfiger building, on the waterfront in Amsterdam’s expanding Houthavens area, won for its sophisticated design; it features spacious lounge decks and rooftop terraces that give it a dynamism that is very much in keeping with this rapidly developing new neighbourhood.

Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger Headquarters in Amsterdam

Circular design

Another notable architectural achievement in Amsterdam is the ABN AMRO bank’s new circular-economy building Circl, located in the Zuidas district. Circl was built almost entirely of recycled materials, which can also easily be disassembled and used yet again. ABN AMRO collected 16,000 pairs of old jeans from its employees and used them as insulation material in the ceiling, and the window frames were taken from demolished office buildings. With 500 solar panels on its roof, Circl also features a restaurant, rooftop bar and an exhibition space – all of which are open to the public. To connect with the local environment even more, Circl will regularly host lectures and meetings that focus on social and economic issues, including new possibilities for the circular economy.

Along these same circular lines, one of the Netherlands’ largest apartment buildings was recently salvaged from demolition and rebuilt as a thoroughly modern residential structure. For their work on refurbishing the Kleiburg building in Amsterdam Zuid-Oost, the firms NL Architects and XVW architectuur together won the 2017 European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture / Mies van der Rohe Award, which was presented by the European Commission.

Reinventing retail

Another recent winner is the Crystal Houses project in Amsterdam’s upmarket shopping street P.C. Hooftstraat. It was designed by architectural firm MVRDV, and it recently won a special prize in the 2017 Prix Versailles World Architecture Awards. For Crystal Houses, MVRDV designed a transparent facade for Chanel’s flagship store in Amsterdam using glass bricks and glass window frames, reflecting the character of the brand as well as the local area. The project also fits in well with Amsterdam’s ambition of welcoming distinctive flagship stores, while still maintaining the city’s most attractive historical qualities.

Chanel Store Amsterdam