Paul de Ruiter

The Beacons

A socially sustainable community in a leafy neighbourhood

1518 PDR Pieter Kers R256 1092930
1518 PDR Pieter Kers R256 1092742
1518 PDR Pieter Kers R256 1092961
1518 PDR Pieter Kers R256 1092991 The Beacons
1518 PDR Pieter Kers R256 1094889 The Beacons
1518 PDR Pieter Kers R256 1094916
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As part of its ongoing expansion of the city of Amsterdam, the local government is creating a new island on the eastern edge of the city. Zeeburgereiland, as it is called, lies between a stretch of the A10 ring road, the Piet Hein Tunnel, and the neighbourhoods of Amsterdam East and North, and is easily accessible from anywhere within the A10. Several new neighbourhoods are due for construction here over the next few years, among which is the Sportheldenbuurt, whose plans include healthcare centres and shops, and is expected to eventually boast a population of over 10,000. Paul de Ruiter Architects were commissioned to design two apartment blocks with 110 rental and owner-occupied apartments in the south-eastern part of the neighbourhood. The mix of housing types is designed to facilitate diversity and support the development of a socially sustainable community.

The blocks boast a dynamic mix of green public space

Facilitating interaction to enhance quality of life

One of the biggest contributors to the quality of life in any neighbourhood is public space that encourages people to spend time outdoors. Thus, not only was this critical to our design, but it also gave us the opportunity to promote interaction between neighbours from the two blocks, one of which we devoted to owner-occupied apartments and the other to rental apartments of varying dimensions. To this end, we turned the space between the blocks into a lush garden that people would want to spend time in, regardless of age or whether they happened to be alone or with their family. We situated the car park underground in order to devote as much of the site as possible to this communal garden.

The living building

The street-facing apartments in the three floors that constitute the plinth-like base of each block overlook or open out onto yet more public space in the form of grass terraces, thereby providing further inducement to residents to spend time outdoors and hopefully meet their neighbours. Living rooms are outward-facing for the same reason, with residential amenities situated at the heart of the blocks. The apartments above the base are recessed, thereby providing additional public space in the form of a 360-degree terrace. The apartments on the uppermost floors come with balconies. The result of these provisions is that both blocks brim with life, as human activity is in evidence from every vantage point.

Project details


Location Zeeburgereiland, Amsterdam
Gross floor area 15,300 m²
Project description 110 apartments with underground parking for 88 cars
Start design June 2015
Start construction June 2017
Completion Augustus 2018


Client AM
Design Paul de Ruiter Architects bv
Projectleader Raymond van Sabben
Project architects Paul de Ruiter & Noud Paes
Project team Martijn van Gameren, Ronald Hageman, Sander van de Weijer, Florina Raileanu, Richard Buijs
Construction consultant Adams bouwadviesbureau
Building services engineering DWA
Structural engineering DWA
Contractor BAM Wonen (Amsterdam)
Photography Pieter Kers

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