This New Building’s Facade Is Made Entirely of Balconies

There is no front or back to The Grid, a new residential building in the Overhoeks area, in Amsterdam. Siting along the IJ River, this luxury apartment building designed by KCAP is all-sided, with stacked balconies surrounding the entire facade. The structure encloses an interior courtyard designed by Sant&Co, a local landscape architecture firm. 

All 68 units in the building have at least one balcony (sometimes more, depending on the size), that is accessible through a story-high sliding window. On nice days, tenants can open nearly an entire wall of their living space, creating pseudo-loggias without any heavy lifting. 

The building’s shared courtyard inspires connection between residents.

Image courtesy of KCAP 

The building’s materiality is a welcome mix of textured and smooth finishes. On the exterior, the modern, elevated glass from the windows is framed by Jura stone, creating a pleasing juxtaposition between the man-made and natural. As residents move in, the firm hopes the facade will grow increasingly green as the private outdoor spaces encourage outdoor gardens and plantings. 

Although privacy was an integral part of the design, so too was communal space. “The building is a modern translation of the early 19th century luxury residential hotel,” said Irma van Oort, partner at KCAP. “Residents would gather just as easily in the central lobby or terrace, as they would in their own suite or on a private balcony.”

To that end, a transparent lobby stars as the central hub of the complex, which the designers envisioned as an extension of each unit’s living room. Here, tenants can mingle and socialize while gazing out at the shared courtyard. “The courtyard becomes the green extension of the entrance hall, a place to enjoy together,” van Oort added. While the design encourages those who live in the building to connect with each other, the transparent facade is also used to bridge the community with the outside world. 

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