Plan Documentation

Plan Documentation The Luxury City Apartment

The plan documentation for the luxury city apartments in this second issue of DASH consists of a series of historic and recent, national and international projects, which we believe are representative and classical examples of the luxury apartment building.

We looked abroad for the majority of our selections. In cities such as Chicago, New York, Paris and Berlin, the erection of apartment buildings is inextricably linked with the turbulent growth of the metropolis and the Industrial Revolution in the nineteenth century. Remarkably, this development never really took off in the Netherlands, so the country has no tradition of luxury city apartments.

Examples of the international tradition of apartment building that we have included are the Albert Hall Mansions in London and the Parisian apartment building by the Perret brothers at Avenue Wagram 119. More recent, modernist projects are Lake Point Tower in Chicago and the Torres Blancas in Madrid. Brazil has its own tradition of apartment buildings. Parque Cidade Jardim from São Paulo, which we document here, is typical of the recent developments also seen in other emerging economies: an enclave of luxury and exclusivity. Meanwhile, 40 Bond Street in New York epitomizes a contemporary combination of private luxury and hotel services.

A number of special, though relatively unknown projects were built in the Netherlands in the 1930s, in part to provide comfortable housing for returnees from the Dutch East Indies. Residential hotel Duinwyck in The Hague is a case in point.

Noteworthy are the luxury apartments built during the interwar years by the Amsterdam-based architect Warners, who not only designed them, but also developed these projects. Westhove, one of his most striking creations just off Valeriusplein in Amsterdam, is documented here for the first time.

Since the 1990s, the globalizing economy and new urban lifestyles have led to the construction of apartment buildings for new groups of city dwellers in the Netherlands. An example is Detroit in Amsterdam, which offers tenants a relatively modest set of extra services.

The documentation features the following nine projects:

  • Parque Cidade Jardim, São Paulo – Escritório Técnico Julio Neves; Pablo Slemenson Arquitetura (2006-2013)
  • 40 Bond Street, New York – Herzog & de Meuron (2004-2007)
  • Detroit, Amsterdam – AWG Architecten, Bob van Reeth and Christine de Ruijter (1998-2005)
  • Lake Point Tower, Chicago – George Schipporeit & John Heinrich Associates (in collaboration with Graham Anderson Probst & White Ass. Architects) (1965-1968)
  • Torres Blancas, Madrid – Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oiza (1961-1968)
  • Residential hotel Duinwyck, The Hague – L.M. van den Berg and J.J. Groenema (1929- 1932)
  • Multi-storeyed house Westhove, Amsterdam – F.A. Warners (1920-1923)
  • Avenue de Wagram 119, Paris – Auguste & Gustave Perret (1902)
  • Albert Hall Mansions, London – Richard Norman Shaw (1879-1886)

To facilitate a comparative analysis, the drawings focus on the building’s structure in relation to collective access and the individual apartment. Through the use of colour coding and numbering the plans highlight the key features of the luxury city apartments. For example, they distinguish between the apartments themselves and the communal areas, such as entrances and circulation areas, as well as restaurants, porter’s lodges and guest rooms. Inside the apartments the plans indicate which circuits and rooms are designated for residents and which for staff. Because many of them are historic, the buildings have a long history of users and successive renovations. The plans drawn here hark back to the original situation, in so far as this could be reconstructed from archival material.

The documentation is complemented with a site drawing and, where necessary, a cross section of the block structure.

The project photography focuses primarily on façades and settings. Most of the photographs are contemporary, sometimes in combination with historic material, depending on availability. Photographs of the interiors have also been included. But given the limited access to the apartments, here too availability played a part in determining the selection.

To make the drawings and locate the photographs we have drawn on the following sources and archives: Royal Academy Archive, London; Cité d’Architecture et de Patrimoine, Centre d’archives d’architecture du XXe siècle, Paris; Warners archief NAi Rotterdam; Archief Bouw- en Woningtoezicht, Amsterdam Oud Zuid; Dienst Stedelijke Ontwikkeling, Monumentenzorg, The Hague and the Haags Gemeentearchief; Lake Point Tower Condominium Association, Chicago; AWG Architecten, Antwerp; Herzog & de Meuron, Basel; Profession Comunicações, São Paulo.


Drawings by: Sebastiaan Kaal