Patch22 nearing completion

Patch22, a housing complex aiming to be the highest wooden structure in the Netherlands, is nearing completion. The project by FRANTZEN et al. was analysed for my final thesis. The brief analysis can be read below and a more extensive interview with the architect himself can be read here.

Patch22 started as a competition entry for a sustainability tender issued by the city of Amsterdam for the redevelopment of Buiksloterham (Gemeente Amsterdam, 2010). As Amsterdam has ambitions to only develop climate neutral buildings as of 2015, the demands were set high: all applicants should develop climate neutrally and have their buildings assessed by GPR©gebouw en Rekentabel Klimaatneutraal Bouwen, two quantifiers of sustainable building (Gemeente Amsterdam, 2010). Within these parameters FRANTZEN et al saw an opportunity to propose a fully wooden structure and to develop that building themselves (Frantzen, 2015).

Not only the technical ambition to build the tallest wooden structure in The Netherlands set them apart from other applicants (Lemniskade BV, 2014). The financing is as well somewhat different: by asking contractor Hillen & Roosen to provide a loan to finance the project, the initiation risk is largely deferred from the developing architect and the future inhabitants towards the contractor (Labuhn, 2013)[jh1] . The contractor was convinced to do so by assigning a budget normally set aside for acquisition towards the start-up costs for the build, like city fees, interest and other development costs (Frantzen, 2015; Labuhn, 2013). This way the project would not be dependent of individual mortgages of the prospective buyers, as is the case within a traditional CPC (Frantzen, 2015). By including interest on the provided loan and a part of development gains, this setup was worthwhile for the contractor as well (Frantzen, 2015; Labuhn, 2013).

Initially, the sales were slow, but once architect Tom Frantzen had committed himself to live there as well, the sales picked up (Frantzen, 2015). At time of writing the project was being built, with only two dwellings still available for sale (Lemniskade BV, 2014).

The main drive for this project was not to create an optimum amount of dwellings for the available plot, but to provide an optimal type of dwelling for the city of Amsterdam (Frantzen, 2015). For this reason the number of dwellings was more dependent on its attractiveness for potential investors, in this case the contractor and future inhabitants, than on the plot size (Frantzen, 2015); a smaller project would not have offered the financial incentive and possible work to convince a contractor (Frantzen, 2015). Similarly according to Frantzen, it is “easier to find buyers in Amsterdam for 20 special apartments then for 40 average ones” (Frantzen, 2015).

The dwellings are therefore relatively larger than average for new builds (Frantzen, 2015): oscillating between 120m2 and 200 m2 variations (Lemniskade BV & FRANTZEN et al architecten, 2014). Where the lower wing consists of five two-story dwellings, the main high-rise structure has 16 apartments that can vary in size (FRANTZEN et al architecten, 2013). The plinth of both parts of the building is intended as a workspace (Labuhn, 2013). In case of the side wing, these workspaces have interior connections with the dwellings above, yet each has a separate entrance as well (FRANTZEN et al architecten, 2013).

Additional schemes and plans are by FRANTZEN et al architecten ©.