Built during the heyday of social housing in Amsterdam, Oeverpad is the very definition of ‘they don’t make them like they used to’. Here, a U-shaped block of 120 homes sits proudly in an established garden, overlooking the Sloterplas. Oeverpad brings a little romanticism to the pragmatic modernist expansion plan of Van Eesteren, blending functionality with aesthetics to create a relaxed ensamble.

Oeverpad took only three and a half years to realize, from first sketch to finished building. Even with the added complexity of demolishing the existing building and temporarily relocating the elderly residents who were then rehoused within the new building this was impressively fast.

Oeverpad was not just speedy, it was also generous. Apartments (including the social housing) are unusally wide by Amsterdam standards, maximising light and view. From here residents overlook the park-like garden from large windows & enclosed balconies.

This generosity extends to the shared spaces, both inside & out. The central garden has a park-like atmosphere, providing a serene environment for the residents. This green courtyard has a gentle 3% slope, with the highest point offering a view of the water.

Shared spaces within the building are generously proportioned and utilize bright, robust materials, reflecting careful and considerate design. An attention to detail is observed in the designing of the lobby, where deep window sills double as places to rest, or a space for a shared library. The circulation spaces for the elderly housing are lined with perforated metal, offering a flexible system for hanging pictures, plants, and other mementos, creating a homely and personalized environment.

Oeverpad is part of a larger modernist lineage, initially devised by van Eesteren in the General Expansion Plan for Amsterdam (1934), which aimed at increasing residential densities in the Amsterdam’s West.

Within the U-shaped block, a wide variety of typologies support a healthy mix of residents. Oeverpad comprises 32 units for the elderly, 70 rent-controlled apartments, and 18 owner-occupied apartments.

The living areas in the social housing units are centered around a conservatory that can be opened with a large sliding window. These homes are located along a wide central corridor that ends in an open communal terrace. Rental and owner-occupied homes with flexible floor plans are situated along the gallery, which alternates between the exterior and interior of the block. The private sector owner-occupied apartments are located in the higher sections of the building. The top apartments span two floors and offer panoramic views across the Sloterplas towards the centre of Amsterdam. In addition to a loggia on the outer facade, these homes feature a patio recessed into the roof.

Dwelling types and means of access vary from wing to wing, creates a rich variation in galleries, balconies, terraces, serres, and entrances, which enliven the courtyard.

The U-shaped form of Oeverpad opens up to the south, maximizing sunlight into the central courtyard garden. The east wing is elevated to offer views from the housing through the garden to the Sloterplas beyond. The apartments sit slightly above ground level, allowing for discreet parking and storage to be discreetly tucked beneath the building’s footprint. This also leaves the rest of the grounds untouched and able to support fully-grown trees.

20 years on Oeverpad has successfully embedded itself within its park-like surroundings. Its design and execution demonstrates a commitment to providing quality social housing, blending modernist functionality with thoughtful human touches to create a peaceful place to live.

Bjarne Mastenbroek & Dick van Gameren
De principaal
Amsterdam, NL
1994 - 1998
Jeroen Musch, Ossip, SeARCH