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De Lairessestraat 163-165

Amsterdam

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Westhove multi-storied house

"Westhove' (1922) is one of the multi-storied houses that F.A. Warners built in Amsterdam. In the beginning of the twentieth century, apartment buildings are still an unknown phenomenon in the Netherlands, but they were already being built in cities such as Paris, Vienna and Berlin, and afterwards in England and the US.

Between 1870 and 1914, Dutch houses were built with two stories according to a standard layout: basement, first floor and second floor. Warners' multi-storied house "Loma" (1914) on De Lairessestraat is the very first apartment building. A radical breakthrough in types of housing because the apartments have all the rooms, including those for personnel, on the same floor.

Financing this type of building, however, is tricky: it is only possible to build an apartment building if you have a private commission. But only a few dare to enter upon a construction project of such proportions. That is why in 1914, Warners, his father-in-law Allert de Lange, and David Voûte set up the N.V. Amsterdam Society for the Operation of Multi-storied Houses (A.M.E.E.). The society acquired land from the municipality and Warners designed the buildings. After the design had been approved, shares in the building were sold. These shares entitle the buyer to live in the building. In those days it was still not possible to buy an apartment because "horizontal ownership" did not yet exist.

After designing the "Loma" multi-storied house, a series of similar projects followed: "Zonnehoek" (1916), "Zuidwijk" (1919), "Steenhoek" (1921) and "Westhove" (1922). All of them equipped with an efficient layout, modern comforts and the latest technical gadgets. These multi-storied houses could be built a little taller each time. The A.M.E.E.'s growing influence allow regulations to keep buildings from numbering more than four floors to be sidestepped. Warners designed the largest and most luxurious apartments on the top floors of the buildings. It’s the first time that the living quarters highest up are given the most status.

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