Brink 43-45



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Betondorp library and housing

Shortly after the First World War there was a serious shortage of cheap housing, skilled labourers and affordable building materials, such as brick. As a result, experiments using concrete to build social housing on the outskirts of Amsterdam were carried out between 1923 and 1928.

Betondorp in Amsterdam Watergraafsmeer shows a diversity of experiments in concrete. The 900 council houses and communal facilities were executed using nine different concrete systems. In view of the limited experience with the material, the council thought it wise to spread the risk. Dick Greiner designed a public library, built with concrete cast in situ in cellular concrete for the centrally located Brink. It is on the suburb’s central square onto which the main routes converge. Around the Brink Greiner designed a club building, houses and a cafe. The concrete itself is grey but the woodwork of the doors and windows is brightly painted to make it attractive for the residents.

The urban design of Betondorp is based on that of the garden suburb, spaciously set up around a central square with lots of greenery in the form of gardens and courtyards. In addition to Greiner, H. F. Mertens, D. Roosenburg, J.B. van Loghem and J. Gratama were also involved in the construction of Betondorp.


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