The area of Sloterdijk, just west of Amsterdam, is presently undergoing a radical transformation. After the financial crisis of 2008, many of the office buildings in Sloterdijk suffered from high rates of vacancy. Because of the lack of housing and other amenities in this relatively mono-functional office area, this lead to a decay of the environment as a whole. The municipality therefore made the decision to formulate a new zoning plan that allowed for 1,500 to 2,000 new dwellings and transformation of office buildings into short-stay apartments, answering to the need to build more housing in Amsterdam.
The Student Village will be realized on a central location close to the Sloterdijk Station. What sets the project apart is its modular construction, based on a prefabricated housing unit for students. The construction method and low cost of construction means that the buildings can be taken apart and recycled after 10 years to make room for permanent housing. Because of the limited size of the apartments, care has been put in the design of the public spaces around the buildings. The height difference between the eastern and western edge of the area has led to a series of terraces that create a semiprivate zone around the buildings. Underneath the railway bridge north of the area is a protected area for outdoor sport, cinema, events and bicycle parking. On top of the coated steel panels of the units is a “second skin” of translucent screens of different colors. The screens give privacy to the inhabitants while letting light into the apartments, and lends an expression of lightness to the area.