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St Antoniesbreestraat

Amsterdam

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Housing Complex Sint Antoniesbreestraat (Pentagon)

In 1971 the construction of the metro in the Nieuwmarkt area of Amsterdam occasions an entirely different approach to urban regeneration. In contrast to the urbanisation plans of the past, the new development above the metro, which is completely undeveloped, takes the existing division of land as its starting point. 

For years, locals fight council plans to build a wide four-lane motorway over the tunnel network; their goal is to restore the old narrow street pattern. The council finally gives way, and the former street plan is reinstated. The neighbourhood is redeveloped with a mixture of housing, shops, offices and bars. The traditional street layout is recreated everywhere except for the area surrounding the apartment complex the Pentagon on the Sint Antoniesbreestraat.

The Pentagon is designed by the architect Theo Bosch and straddles sections of the Metro tunnel. It consists primarily of units for one and two-person households which are accessed from a semi-public internal court and shops with doors on the exterior. There are no parking facilities whatsoever. About the Nieuwmarkt project Bosch observes: ‘I see the city as commissioning body; a well-designed building alone is not sufficient, it must give something back to the city, and you can do that by integrating different functions – homes, shops, offices and businesses.’

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