DelftVan den Broek & Bakema

Differentiatons Based on the Section

The oeuvre of Van den Broek & Bakema boasts many variations on the split-level apartment, in both studies and realized projects. The split-level apartment couples the efficiency of the access gallery with the dual orientation that characterizes the walk-up apartment, benefitting both ventilation and sunlighting. Secondly, compared to a maisonette the split-level apartment features a greater physical cohesion between levels. And finally, its relatively large width lends this type of building greater stability than the often narrower gallery-access apartment building. But Van den Broek and Bakema’s predilection for the split-level apartment rests on more than pragmatism alone. In Van Stoel tot Stad (From Chair to City) Bakema champions ‘the individual’s right to give personal expression to his philosophy of life’. Given that the split-level apartment lends itself to a wide range of dwelling types, it actually serves this right. Van den Broek & Bakema developed the split-level variants discussed here over a period of 15 years. Although characterized by greater and smaller typological variations, they are all made up of stacked modules. These consist of a corridor with dwellings alongside, above and below it. The number of dwellings per module varies, as does the range of dwellings, the orientation and the position of the corridors and vertical circulation.

The Elviraflat in Delft (1964) is made up of four modules stacked on top of one another. Each module comprises four dwellings, ranging from studios and one-bedroom apartments at gallery level to two and four bedroom split-level apartments. The four interior corridors serve three modules, each giving access to 12 apartments. Behind each front door a staircase leads up or down a half-storey. In either case the first staircase leads to the level with the living room and the kitchen. The apartments have a traditional layout, with the living room (and balcony) in a wide structural bay and the kitchen and hallway in a narrow structural bay. A second half-flight of stairs leads further up (or down) to the first two bedrooms on the other side of a sanitary zone right above (or below) the access corridor. The four-bedroom apartments have an additional split level, right above the kitchen and living room…