Urban living for teachers

From impossible office location to a pleasant living environment


‘Sandebak’ is new apartment complex in Amsterdam at a location where you wouldn’t expect living spaces. The neighbourhood is busy and noisy. Surrounded by motorways, railways, a hospital and a large bus depot, it is the former location of an office building. After that was demolished, a complex arose that can easily take on the fight with the surroundings. 

The grey bricks and horizontal strips of precast concrete allude to the former office building. However, subtle variations in height and the large windows immediately clarify that this is now a nice residential building. All apartments have an outdoor space – the characteristic sun conservatory – which can be fully opened and thus become a full-fledged balcony. When closed, the conservatory is an additional room and functions as a buffer for the outside noise thanks to the large acoustic louvre.

‘Sandebak’ is also meant for people who make too much for subsidised rent but not enough to get a mortgage; the tenants in the middle-income segment. A peculiar aspect of this building is that part of the 106 spacious 50-square-metre two-room apartments is reserved for teachers. These are the very first teacher houses in Amsterdam. To keep the apartments affordable, we designed a building with a relatively simple building structure. This allowed for financial leeway for a high-quality finish on the outside and a large, glass entrance hall at the corner; a pleasant meeting spot for the residents.

With this construction, a large office cluster was entirely transformed into a residential area in just a couple of years. Sandebak is located between the Student Hotel (over 700 student dorm rooms) and the Poort van Toorop (176 rental apartments), thus creating a natural flow from student room to starter homes. It is a strategic location for the young, starting market. Client Wonam thinks these locations could become the ‘places to be’ and ‘places to come’.

 - Project Sandebak, Amsterdam

Further information: Jop Alberts