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Spaarndammerplantsoen 140

Amsterdam

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Housing Complex Spaarndammerplantsoen (Het Schip)

Of the three social housing developments on the Spaarndammerplantsoen it is the third project, built for a socialist housing association, that marked the breakthrough of the Amsterdamse School.

With its remarkable design on a triangular lot, and covering some 32.000 m2, the complex owes its name (The Ship) to its elongated shape. The building contains 102 dwellings in eighteen different residential types, most of which are three-room apartments. 

In addition to these living units, Het Schip includes a communal meeting area for the residents, a school and a post office. De Klerk also developed the interior of the post office, complete with counters, chairs and a telephone box. De Klerk’s expressionist leanings are clearly expressed in every aspect of the building’s design. The facades are the epitome of virtuoso masonry, with windows and porticos executed in an array of shapes with sculptures and lettering coalescing in a total work of art.

The complex has two long facades; the one facing the Oostzaanstraat is the most restrained while that directly adjacent to the railway line on the Zaanstraat has a pronounced horizontal character. The short side, in the Hembrugstraat, marks a tower and small square – this ensemble not only comes to symbolise the Amsterdam School, but will also later become the focal point of criticism of the movement. This critique predominantly takes issue with the a-functionality of the embellishments – in this case, the tower.

The building currently houses Museum Het Schip. See www.hetschip.nl/en/ 

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