Andreas Ensemble / Tony Fretton Architects Ltd

Andreas Ensemble / Tony Fretton Architects Ltd

  • Andreas Ensemble / Tony Fretton Architects Ltd
  • Andreas Ensemble / Tony Fretton Architects Ltd


The project, for developers Proper Stok, is situated in Amsterdam West, an area planned by Cor van Eesteren before the Second World War but constructed only from the 1950’s onwards, principally as social housing. Now emerging from being seen as a failure, the area is becoming an attractive alternative to the centre of the city.

Formerly occupied by a hospital, the Sint Andreas Ziekenhuis, the site is bordered on the east and south sides by canals. The canal to the south opens to form a broad basin. On the north and west the site faces busy highways.


In the master plan by the Hague practice Geurst and Schulze, tall buildings face the road to shield the interior of the site. A strong perimeter is also a requirement of Amsterdam city planning department who want the scheme to follow the pattern of closed blocks in the adjacent district of Old West laid out by Berlage, rather than the modernist planning of Cor van Eesteren. The result is that all sides of the site, including those facing the canals are enclosed with buildings, and the interior of the site has only small and incidental views of the water.

Geurst and Schulze are designing the buildings towards the roads and canal on the east, Tony Fretton Architects, the four freestanding blocks in the interior and the public square between them, as well as the perimeter building facing the basin on the south.

The four buildings in the interior are designed to provide a serene centre to the project.


Flats are generously scaled with an average of 114 sqm. Lifts, stairs and services in the centre of the plan give the whole perimeter over to the flats and make their rooms wide and full of daylight.

A simple floor plate allows flexibility so that living rooms and balconies can be positioned for good sunlight and views whatever the orientation of the building. Each building is configured with maisonettes on the ground and first floors, flats in the middle floors and two floors of penthouse flats in the attic.

The perimeter building provides more conventional compact flats with double aspect, comprising 66 flats made up of 16 types All flats have at least one balcony and maisonettes benefit from a private garden terrace at ground level.


Facades will be of very refined grey Danish brickwork, punctured with a regular pattern of large openings that are filled with aluminium sliding doors at balconies or windows with a solid spandrel below. Windows have a pattern of two vertical mullions, or a solid centre panel to accept the walls of kitchens and bedrooms. Balconies and windows can be placed in many positions, aiding the flexibility of the plan and adding animation to the stateliness and regularity of the facades.


Materials are chosen for their durability and permanence of colour. Aluminium will be anodised in champagne colour on some facades and blue grey on others. Balconies will be powder coated in pale metallic colours that composes with the other materials. The penthouses have green slate cladding in a grid pattern containing windows.

Despite the desire of Amsterdam City planners to impose a Berlage quality, Geurst and Schulze have laid out the interior of the scheme in a distinctively van Eesteren way, which often places the buildings and their main entrances in unexpected positions.

One of our roles as foreign architects has been to bring a third dimension to the site planning. A large-scale pattern that we have designed for the paving in the central court leads the eye to the entrance lobby of each apartments building, where a large and different symbol in the floor of each lobby identifies the building. These simple devices provide a unifying figure in the heart of the scheme.


Extra info

Proper Stok Woningen bv


£10 million

Gross internal area (sqm):
25,000 sqm

Design Team:
Tony Fretton, Jim McKinney, David Owen, Annika Rabi, Guy Derwent, Nina Lundvall, Martin Nässén, Matt Barton, Max Lacey

Project Architect:
David Owen

Project Management:
Mondiales Folies

Executive Architects:
INBO Architecten

Quantity Surveyor:

Structural Engineer:
Grontmij van Ruitenburg

Services Engineer:

Acoustic / Fire Engineer: