Entries by Olv Klijn

Relaxed Private Commissioning

Until a few years ago, it was common practice in the Netherlands for developers to deliver generic products and give most of their attention to production. Of course, there was also a market that accepted this. It made little difference what was produced, for everything sold. Although architects had been expressing an interest in increasing […]

Miss Sargfabrik


The Viennese housing project Miss Sargfabrik (2000) is the sequel to a project located nearby (1996), named Sargfabrik. They have a lot in common: bright-orange façades with an unusual programme that includes room, alongside housing, for collective, and in the case of Sargfabrik, public functions. In addition they have the same client: a collective named […]

Maison Latapie

FloiracLacaton & Vassal

On a perfectly ordinary street in Floirac, a suburb of Bordeaux, French architect couple Anne Lacaton & Jean-Philippe Vassal built a house in 1993 that stands out for its minimalism. Not the kind of minimalism that made Swiss architecture world famous, but a minimalism that Rem Koolhaas once described as ‘Calcutta minimalism’ and that has […]

Generalizations are Passé

A conversation with architect Frits van Dongen, who remarks that typological innovation is both the consequence of a meticulous process of rationalization and optimization and the product of endlessly soldiering on, constantly building on what has gone before.

The Evolution of Type A, B, C and further

Over the past decades architect Frits van Dongen has gained a name as an ingenious typological innovator. His oeuvre displays a gradual and above all rational development towards optimum housing typologies. Van Dongen, however, describes himself in somewhat different words: ‘I’m a kind of street fighter too, which means I’ll battle endlessly to get a […]


AmsterdamFrits van Dongen/ de Architekten Cie.

A New Standard In 1996 Frits van Dongen was asked to design an apartment building in a spectacular location in the Plantagebuurt area of Amsterdam. But development of the almost rectangular site at the junction of Nieuwe Herengracht and Entrepotdok proved to be no easy task. Given the limited dimensions (33 x 55 m) only […]

Junk Space You Need

Alex van de Beld, who started his practice in the 1990s, talks about the specific qualities of informality and suburban living. Besides finding the right balance between privacy and collectivity, examples provided by Scandinavian residential culture are examined.


This brief but colourful history of a project in Amsterdam’s Oostelijk Havengebied recounts the trials and tribulations of architects and commissioners in developing an initially prestigious and unique building.