Golden Gate


urban plan and architectural design for a landmark in the water of the IJ-lake.

Amsterdam, NL

366 high rise apartments
2000 m² commercial space
parking garage with 338 places

client: Ontwikkelingscombinatie Amsterdam Arche (Dura Vermeer/ De Nijs)
images: CIIID, TANK interior design

Houthavens Amsterdam, NL


The building is located at the end of a 200 metre dam that projects into the water of the river IJ. The unusual form was designed with apartment dwellers’ preferences in mind: residential demand is highest either at the top of highrises (penthouse views) or at the base to connect to the liveliness at citylevel. In the Pontsteiger design concept the part in between is simply minimized.


The large building consists of a six floor lowrise block that wraps around a plaza on the waterfront. Two slender 60 metre towers at the open end of this block frame the river view. The towers carry a bridge spanning 48 metres rising to a height of 90 metres above the city. The result is an iconic building that foreshadows Amsterdam’s growth of highrise buildings around the river IJ.

The building is elevated 7 metres and set upon a base of four pavillions. The glazed pavillions accommodate lobbies, restaurants, bars and cafes. A marina for the residents of Pontsteiger is located at the westside. The public space on ground level provides access to the water on all sides and creates views across the river in every direction. Despite its scale, the buildings elevated volume creates an astonishing light-footed presence on site and a constantly changing appearance different from every part of the city.

Flexibility has been key in the design that dates back to 2007.The original concept proved to be capable of adapting to extreme market forces throughout the project. A mix of floorplan typologies is employed to create apartments ranging between 65 m2 and410 m2.

The pavillions have sensuous curves and are constructed with sturdy timber windowframes. The canopies bring a smaller scale to the ground floor and shield for the occasional downburst of wind. In the facades of the highrise a playfully patterned grid of marble-white concrete is set with artisan glazed bricks. The chameleonic tones of green and bronze create a facade that changes with the light and time of day, just like the surface of the waters that surround the building. Extra-large aluminium framed windows open up spectacular views all around. The large balconies are set within the building volume and are protected by large glass windscreens. All exterior ceilings are clad in timber lending to give the building a warm atmosphere, while referring to the locations history of timber docks.

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