Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 1996 - 2000
PROGRAM: new headquarters for housing developer
CLIENT: Woningbouwvereniging Het Oosten
ADDITION & RENOVATION: 3,500 & 50,000 sq ft
STATUS: completed
In Amsterdam, on the Singel Gracht, the renovated building is a four-story brick "U" merging internally with a new "sponge" pavilion. While the exterior expression is one of complimentary contrast (existing brick adjacent to new perforated copper) the interior strategy is one of fusion. The porous architecture of the rectangular pavilion is inscribed with a concept from Morton Feldman's music, "Patterns in a Chromatic Field." The ambition to achieve a space of gossamer optic phenomena with chance-located color is especially effective at night when the color patches reflect in the De Single Canal. The layers of perforated screens are developed in three dimensions, analogous to the "Menger Sponge" principle of openings that are continuously cut in planes and constantly approaching zero volume.
'Holl gives light real substance, reckoning with it as form. As Holl’s new pavilion comes into sight across the Singel canal, the viewer is instantly struck by its unique power. It is a simple cube, punched with what look like random openings. Subtle washes of gray-green color move across the surface, while dabs of bright orange and fluorescent green wink on and off. As one looks closer, the very borders of the cube blur. This relatively small structure, only 65 feet on its longest side, emanates an eerie power'.
– James S. Russell, Architectural Record, January, 2001
'Steven Holl’s latest European project is modest in scale, but offers a powerful exposition of his very distinctive architectural vision and working methods'.
– Yehuda Safran, Domus, October, 2000
'As the clouds pass over Amsterdam, colors shimmer and shift subtly on the surface of architect Steven Holl’s magnificent yet playful cube. This riverside structure, built for a Dutch corporation, looks less as if it was made from glass and perforated metal than from the surrounding water and light'.
– Time, December 16, 2000
'To bridge the distance between past and future, the company selected the New York architect Steven Holl. Known for sensuous site-cased constructions, Holl has built a reputation on his poetic handling of light, a precious commodity in Holland’s often gray capital. Dutch architecture critics have described Holl’s rectangular pavilion as a three-dimensional Mondrian painting. Indeed, like the pure abstraction of Mondrian’s strict geometry, the design, though asymmetrical, is harmonious'.
– Allard Jolles, Interiors, May, 2001


  • architect
    • – Steven Holl Architects
      • Steven Holl (design architect)
      • Justin Korhammer (project architect)
      • Hideaki Ariizumi, Martin Cox, Annette Goderbauer, Yoh Hanaoka, Heleen van Heel (project team)
  • local architect
    • – Rappange & Partners
  • structural engineer
    • – Ingenieursgroep Van Rossum
  • mechanical engineer
    • – Technical Management
  • electrical engineer
    • – Technical Management
  • building services consultant
    • – Technical Management
  • general contractor
    • – VOF Van Eesteren
    • – Koninklijke Woudenberg
  • lighting consultant
    • – L'Observatoire International
  • artist
    • – Matt Mullican
      • Matt Mullican, Maria Roosen
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