words William WilesMVRDV has completed this apartment building and children's centre in Westerdok, just north of the centre of Amsterdam.
The building, also called Westerdok, is part of a complex arranged around a courtyard in a regenerated area of dockland. A bold glass volume designed around a concept of "total openness", it strikes a dramatic contrast with the neighbouring mostly brick blocks.
"When we went to the site and we found beautiful scenery," says project architect Frans de Witte. "On one side you have the [river] Ij, and the other side you have the Westerdok harbour with the view of Amsterdam, so we came to the conclusion that we must create as much view of this beautiful scenery as possible."
The 6,000sq m building contains 46 apartments. What would otherwise be a plain orthogonal form is jazzed up by Westerdok's syncopated balconies, which sprout from bands wrapped around the building and enliven the view from street level.
The building has already been nominated for a local architecture award.