Armada Housing, Den Bosch

June 9, 2011 Filed under: 2000s, Residential by Sanna Fisher-Payne 5 comments

Placed 21st in the Placebook vote of favourite buildings by BDP
Patrick Fransen partner at Herman Hertzberger, director of Credo Integrale Job van der Veer, photographer Martine Hamilton Knight and film-maker Camilla Robinson introduce an outstanding housing project

Patrick Fransen

The ‘Paleiskwartier’ is a typical example of a Dutch urban renewal project where former industrial activity has made way for inner city redevelopment. The district owes its new reputation largely to the expressive image of the ‘Armada Housing’ designed by Tony McGuirk.

Although expressive architecture is not unknown in the Netherlands, this series of apartment buildings at the heart of the Paleiskwartier is so untypically-Dutch that they have almost single-handedly put the district on the map. One is rarely spoken about without the other. The Armada has even become Den Bosch’s second most published building just behind the famous St.Jan cathedral.

The contrast with the surrounding buildings is both striking and unusual. In particular the image of the shiny curved sail-shaped south facades, with their balconies piercing through, is an enduring one to me.

Job van der Veer

A very special place near the city centre of Den Bosch (Holland) where the Armada project with 255 big apartments is in with a great design.

Martine Hamilton Knight

Holland’s maritime links are legendary, yet here is a scheme which feels coastal, and yet is quite inland. Sails ‘billow’ down the artificial canal, bright silver cladding glinting in the sun, reflecting on the water.

These tall, elegant apartment blocks with their deep set balconies, shaped walls and ceilings offer a bold statement for modern living.

I was there to shoot them for BDP in 2003, and spending extended time with Armada’s genial residents, I was welcomed with my camera inside several homes for tea and a view. I wish we had residential schemes of this nature in Nottingham where I’m based!

Camilla Robinson

This was one of the projects that was explored in the film 5 Cities, 5 Places, 1 Day and so I spent several days in and around the apartments in conversation with residents. It’s a very beautiful and somehow both a peaceful and stimulating environment. Whether filming inside an apartment or in the communal areas, I always felt the presence of nature and the elements, perhaps due to the wooden surfaces, reflected water and leafy balconies

Patrick Fransen is a partner at Architectuurstudio Herman Hertzberger. He is the architect of the Music Centre in Utrecht, Cultureel Plein Markant in Uden and housing led masterplans for Nijmegen, Amsterdam, Haarlem and Waterrijk in Eindhoven
Job van der Veer is director of Credo Integrale Planontwikkeling, the developer/contractor behind the regeneration of Paleiskwartier in Den Bosch including Armada Housing
Martine Hamilton Knight is a professional architectural photographer and RIBA awards judge
Built Vision
Camilla Robinson is a film-maker whose short films have been shown at festivals around the world