MVRDV's Jacob van Ries: Parkrand housing is “like a big mansion”

MVRDV co-founder Jacob van Rijs explains how the firm created an Amsterdam housing development where over 200 homes share one big “outdoor living room” in the latest movie from our exclusive series.

Completed in 2007, the Parkrand Amsterdam apartment building is a block made up of five connected towers that together frame a communal garden for residents.

MVRDV raised the garden above ground level, allowing it to also function as a huge balcony overlooking the park beyond.

“How do you make a building that is both open and connecting and at the same time housing a lot of apartments?” asks van Rijs in the film.

“That was part of the plan, to make kind of one big block of, let’s say, 225 units with one door and a collective interior space with views to the green,” he explains. “So the scale of the building relates to the scale of the park – it’s like a big mansion.”

Giant plant pots are dotted around the space, along with elephant-shaped seats and playground equipment. Parts of the building bridge across overhead, creating a sense of shelter.

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