The Belvedere Tower is surrounded by four-story postwar apartment blocks and is positioned at the end of a cluster of 1980s modernist towers in the south of Amsterdam, Netherlands. Dutch architect René van Zuuk has completed the apartment building in Hilversum, featuring a cross-shaped plan that expands as it rises to accommodate more living units on the upper stories.
The building’s superficially large, triangular site is in fact limited by a number of key constraints, including requirements in relation to the minimum distance from the property boundary, as well as a complex network of utility pipes running beneath the site. The footprint of the Belvedere Tower was therefore limited to no larger than 450 m2 (15% of the plot). These limitations coupled with the stipulation of a maximum building height of no more than 11 stories meant a traditional tower block design would result in a building comprising no more than 44 residential units. However, due to the high price of land, the apartment complex was only financially viable if comprised of at least 55 apartments, our resulting design approach proposed a building where the floor area increased as the building rose vertically, with upper floors cantilevering from the central core thus maximizing usable space on the constrained site.
Structurally, the cantilever is achieved by balancing the building’s mass equally on both sides of the central core, from this symmetrical structure derives the building’s floor plan, a cross. This cross-shaped layout makes each floor plan incredibly flexible resulting in a building comprised of 55 units where no two apartments are identical. The building’s apartments wrap around the oblique corners of the cross resulting in apartments that are dual aspect, each with access to a large, open balcony.