Paul de Ruiter

Student housing on the Poeldijkstraat

Residential comfort within Amsterdam's borders

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Paul de Ruiter Architects are constructing a purpose-built, 500-unit student housing block with related facilities in the Amsterdam Westlandgracht area, on behalf of De Key housing corporation (Woonstichting De Key). The site is on the Poeldijkstraat, which poses its own challenge as the street adjoins the A10 ring road.


Maximising liveability by responding to locational variables
The Poeldijkstraat and its surroundings are defined by a mix of owner-occupied homes, social housing and hotels, and served by a nearby shopping centre on the Delflandplein. Trams, bus stops, a metro station and the A10 are all within easy reach.

The design’s starting point was determined by the outcome of the various studies we conducted regarding the site’s orientation towards the sun, the adjoining motorway and other locational factors. Noise levels were a particular concern: residential accommodation near the A10 is only feasible if appropriate noise-control measures are taken to ensure acoustic comfort and the building’s location in relation to the motorway is optimal.

The east façade emphasizes the horizontal whereas the north and south façades do the opposite.

Comfort and dynamism
The block is u-shaped, has a 62 by 67 metre footprint, is 22.5 metres tall, and consists of a recessed base surmounted by six floors overlooking a communal courtyard. Building services and solar panels are located on the roof.

The east façade (on the Poeldijkstraat) emphasises the horizontal by means of profile lines between floors, and features an alternating grid of rust brown ceramic cladding and recessed windows with aluminium window frames. The north and south façades do the opposite, and boast a uniform row of vertical louvres that run between the base and the top floor — also recessed — and facilitate natural ventilation.

The 4-metre-high base accommodates the main entrance (on the Poeldijkstraat), communal reading rooms and silence rooms, student apartments, a bicycle parking garage and service facilities. The alternation of recessed windows and wood slats along the length of the base creates an interplay of light and shade that adds a dynamic quality to this part of the building.

The façade facing the A10 is sealed off by two “blind” sections separated by a glass noise barrier with internal structural support. The noise barrier, like the vertical louvres on the north and south façades, runs from the first to the top floor, and features a lockable gate at its base for security purposes.

The aluminium window frames and recessed ceramic cladding give the building a cool presence, while the walls overlooking the courtyard have a softer and warmer glow, owing to the preserved wood employed in their construction.

Communal green space for socialising
The units overlooking the Poeldijkstraat accommodate one-person households, and offer easy access to a variety of communal areas for social interaction. The majority of units are 20–25m2, but some on the top floor offer 35–40m2 of living space, while the corner units on each floor are even larger at 50m2.

The apartments are open plan and come with their own kitchen and bathroom. Light and airy corridors mean students are likely to spend more time in them, which facilitates chance encounters. And the green courtyard is resident-only, thereby providing a pleasant and secure outdoor space for students to hang out.

Project details


Address Poeldijkstraat 16, 1059 VM, Amsterdam
Total floor area 19,650 m2
Programme Student housing consisting of 500 units
Start of design March 2016
Start of construction July 2019
Completion May 2021


Client Woonstichting De Key
Project architect Paul de Ruiter
Project team Marieke Sijm, Alex Pieterse, Mark Homminga, Marlous Vriethoff, Christian Quesada van Beresteyn, Barthold Thijssen, Mark Maas, Richard Buijs
Structural engineering consultant Van Rossum BV
Installations Huygen Installatie Adviseurs
Building Physics LBP / Sight
Landscapearchitect MTD
Contractor Bot Bouw
Construction costs consultants Vaecon
Fire safety consultants LBP / Sight
Accoustics consultant LBP / Sight
Projectmanagement VKZ

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