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Transformation of an old gymnasium into a home by Robbert de Goede

Project name:
The Gymnasium
Architecture firm:
Robbert de Goede
Old city center Amsterdam, Netherlands
Marcel van der Burg
Principal architect:
Robbert de Goede
Built area:
620 m²
Site area:
Design year:
Completion year:
Interior design:
Robbert de Goede
Houtwerk, Beverwijk. Hazewindus. van Eden Bouwconstructies.
Environmental & MEP engineering:
Structural engineer:
VKV Restaurations
Tools used:
Residential › Apartment

Robbert de Goede has designed a new home in a former gymnasium in Amsterdam.

Architect's statement: Imagine the possiblity to build a new home in a former gymnasium. A space everyone knows and many architects have fanasized about. First we brought in a flood of daylight with 10 skylights and a huge facade. The trusses were a gift from the building. The new steel structure is detailed accordingly. A combination of new and used materials were selected for the finishes. Many of them of touchable nature.

Important in the dynamics of the house are the long lines of sight. The split-level and glass facades make this huge space very liveable, intimate and a real home.

Stairs to first floor, Railings Cedar wood, steps black Oak

image © Marcel van der Burg

This started with the request of a client to develop an old inner-city gymnasium. He wanted to sell the property and requested us to come up with good ideas. The building's front door is situated in a very small and quiet street in the old center of Amsterdam.

Kitchen: Teak and Fior di Bosco marble counter. You can also see the glass floor on the North side of the building.image © Marcel van der Burg

We studied the neigborhood, researched the specifics of this densly populated area and came to the decision to develop the building into a home instead of a place for business. This would mean far less pressure on the neighborhood: less traffic, better for reachability and local environment and a far more peaceful use of the garden. Soon a buyer was found who chose us to finish the job.

Kitchen and central strairsimage © Marcel van der Burg

A new foundation was laid so we could start with an empty space. We installed a heat-exchanging system in the 26 20 meter long foundation-piles, put 44 solarpanels on the roof bringing the home close to 0 emission.

The main space is 3/5 of the gymnasium, making it perfectly square. A walkway around the square flooropening connects the first floor rooms. This creates the vertical traffic and communication in the house. The 10 skylights bring a flood of daylight to the ground floor. The open court is crowned with a 3m Ø LED-ring. The only circular architectural form in the building.

Kitchen: Teak and Fior di Bosco marble counter, blue steel drawersimage © Marcel van der Burg

After stripping the building we found a lot to work with. Brick walls and beautiful steel trusses inspired the choice for new additions. The new floor is a steel structure with simmilar detailing: the connections between the beams and the way the steel is layed upon the bearing walls. The new steel facades use similar detailing. The ground floor ceiling is a copy of the original ceiling of the slanted roof. A transparant and honest language.

Dining area. Table and chairs from Stellar-Worksimage © Marcel van der Burg

The long railing of the stairs, the doors and windowframes on the walkway are all Yellow Cedar. The finish gives an extremely soft sensation when touched. This was inspired by the work of Japanese sculptor Shimpei Arima, who makes toucheable Cedar sculptures meant for comfort. The brushed Larch, the reused Oak floor, the 4 reused central columns, the ultrasoft Alpaca rug are in line with the embedded idea that architecture needs to be touchable: the third skin. Even the Eucalyptus finish for the closets have a nice and distinctive odor.

Garden and fireplace with Alpaca rug from Uruguayimage © Marcel van der Burg

Early in the design the use of plants was integrated. A garden is visible from the master bathroom and from many sightlines in the house. A huge tobaccoplant was placed as a central and vertical piece.

Over 100 LED-light fixtures were used in the very extensive lighting design.

Split level clearly visible. Flexform couchimage © Marcel van der Burg

The objective was to design an intimate, liveable home. This resulted in a minimal, industrial approach towards the architecture and a very personal approach towards the finishes. This reflects the clients as wel. The owner of a fashion brand and a pediatrician. A great client for an architect: easily accesible, great trust in the designer, a creative, open mindset with a sense of responsibility to the future.

View from living room area. Floor is re-used oakimage © Marcel van der Burg

steel structure stairs image © Marcel van der Burg

Central court with stairs and skylights

image © Marcel van der Burg

Open court, stairsimage © Marcel van der Burg

steel structure stairs image © Marcel van der Burg

First floor walkway with skylights and central court. The circular lamp measures 3 meters Øimage © Marcel van der Burg

Master bathroom with Calacatta Oro marble. Steel frames. Real plants on top of the shower.

image © Marcel van der Burg

Master bathroom with view towards walk-in closet.

image © Marcel van der Burg

Master walk-in closet. Black Oak and smoked Eucalyptus wood.image © Marcel van der Burg

Master walk-in closet with view to the bathroom. Black Oak and smoked Eucalyptus woodimage © Marcel van der Burg

Second bathroom with a view to the central walkway. Door is made from Cedar wood as are the window framesimage © Marcel van der Burg

View inside main buildingimage © Marcel van der Burg

dining table image © Marcel van der Burg

Top level room with overall view of the houseimage © Marcel van der Burg

The space before buildingimage © Marcel van der Burg

Connect with the Robbert de Goede

By Naser Nader Ibrahim

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