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New Amsterdam School

14 April 2007 - Amsterdam must start building beautiful and durable houses again instead of the modernist shoe box architecture, write Hetti Willemse and Michiel Mulder (PvdA).

In de Bijlmer and Nieuw-West, buildings are being demolished that are less than fifty years old. The urban renewal neighbourhoods of the 1980s are also being criticised.

Older buildings are more durable. The foremost example is the Amsterdam School, which already had an international reputation in the early 20th century. No-one would consider demolishing houses from that period.

The PvdA council members published a discussion paper to stimulate a debate on building in Amsterdam. As far as they are concerned, quality should be more of an issue, even if that means the costs are higher.

The writers criticise modernist architects who create rectangular, closed buildings, that would not appeal to residents. Instead, they argue for ornaments, pitched roofs and an obligatory balcony or garden for every house.

According to Willemse and Mulder, good examples of recent architecture include Piraeus at the KNSM island, the ING headquarters at the Zuidas and NEMO.

Illustration: Piraeus (photo ATCB)


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