Designed for a family with two households, Three Generation House offers two separate apartments for a family comprising of two households. Located in Buiksloterham, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, this project is about creating a building for both families so they can enjoy each other’s company without sacrificing private family life advantages. While the building’s contrasting façades are emphasized by the gradient in the building’s plan.
Inter-generational living was a common phenomenon in The Netherlands until the Second World War. It also becomes common and possible for families to split up with the advent of the Welfare State in the ’60s and ’70s. This situation needs to be considered again with the changing political and economic times now. A family with two households decides to build a house together after contemplating this new paradigm.
The younger couple lives in the city already while the Grandparents are keen on moving back to the urban amenities vicinity. The project’s goal is to create a comfortable building for these families where they can enjoy each other’s company. The two separate apartments are stacked on top of one another with a communal entrance as the only connection.
A concept is devised for this mini-apartment building. This concept allows the apartment building to accommodate changing spatial demands. There are an office and a direct relationship with the garden at the bottom apartment, an ideal space for a working family. The top apartment is occupied by the elderly couple and it provides them with generous views across the cityscape. It has wider door openings, level floors, and elevator.
The staircase transforms into a series of voids higher up in the building as a sculptural element in the lower apartment. The vertical access system is placed in the middle of the floorplan to divide the building into an ‘aft’ and a ‘fore’. The floorplan each side can be connected to one of the staircases to create a different configuration.
This apartment building also has been engineered to facilitate the space transfer on the second floor. This space is used for the guests for the Grandparents’ apartment and it can be added to the lower apartment easily through some minor adjustments. It is possible to stretch the inter-generational living concept with the double-helix staircase position.
On the north facade, two studio apartments can be made to allow the children of the younger family to live in the building. The northern facade is closed to reduce sound exposure along the busy street and reduce thermal loss. The building opens up towards completely to maximize the connection with outdoors and passive solar gain. The plan undergoes a gradual transformation between the two contrary façades.
The materials define the project purpose while the building itself defines its composition. The southern facade is clad with large triple glazing window frames only to highlight the building’s relationship with the outdoors. The remaining structural walls are wrapped in high-grade thermal insulation and also composed of large-format concrete masonry. There are bare concrete slabs that offer a clear plane between these walls with warmer timber elements for spatial moments.
Three Generation House Gallery
Photographer: Ossip van Duivenbode