CROSSOVER, on the corner of the A10 Zuid exit and Europaboulevard, will be an excellent addition for Amsterdam, partly because it will have so many different functions when completed (in 2023). It offers space for 120 social rental apartments, ten owner-occupied studios and a nine-storey office section. The ground floor will accommodate hospitality and catering and retail outlets. All in all, it will be an exciting mixture of housing, employment and amenities. Myrthe Baaij, Housing Concepts programme officer at De Key is enthusiastic about the ‘starting block’ (‘Startblok’) concept that De Key is applying for this building. ‘Basically, this means that we’ll be letting the 120 social rental apartments in CROSSOVER to young people aged 18 to 28. Half will be from the Netherlands and the other half will be refugees who hold residence permits.’ The aim is to offer a good start to all residents. ‘This will not just be any complex, it’s a special concept where the idea is to enable the mutual exchange of ideas, knowledge and networks. There will also be slightly more demands placed on residents than is usual. The residence-permit holders who come to live here will have a different background from the Dutch first-timers who may have just moved out from their parental home. The young people who want to live here will need to be aware of that and be open to it. The idea is for young people to help each other. Everyone needs to feel welcome.’
Information and selection day
The City Council and the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers will jointly decide which residence-permit holders will be eligible. ‘We will select the Dutch first-timers ourselves’, says Baaij. ‘The apartments will be posted on Woningnet and any young people interested can register and will be invited to an information and selection day. We will show them the building and ask them some questions, including their reasons for wanting to live here. That motivation will be an important factor in the ultimate allocation.’
The apartments will be around 22 to 28 sq. m. in size and will all have their own kitchen, bathroom and toilet. The apartments will be on the second to the seventh floors. Each floor will have a communal area of around 50 sq. m. There will also be a lounge and a wash & go room on the ground floor. That means that there will be 350 sq. m. of meeting space in total. Baaij: ‘These meeting rooms will be fitted out by theme, for example with themes like work, play and sport. In other words, our investment in building the CROSSOVER community will have both a physical and social component.
This is not the first time that De Key has applied the starting block concept. In Riekerhaven (at the De Nieuwe Meer junction) and Elzenhagen (Amsterdam Noord) this kind of housing already exists. De Key will shortly be completing a complex in Wormerveerstraat (Spaarndammerbuurt) and there will be another similar block in Zeeburg next year. ‘Overall, it’s working really well so far. The complex in Riekerhaven even has a team that does all its own management: its members actually run the whole building. In other starting block concepts, there is a team of community builders to focus on social cohesion in the complex. CROSSOVER itself will also have a core team whose members will work together with the neighbourhood and the City Council. Young people who want to join the team can sign up for it. This will then give them priority for an apartment. And they will also receive a volunteer payment for their efforts.’
Rik Harmsen from the De Key Property department says that the 120 social rental apartments will make up around a quarter of the total volume of the building. ‘It’s relatively limited, but together with the owner-occupied studios on the ground floor and first floor and all the office space, it’s a great combination. It will also be a very sustainable building, because having housing and offices in the building makes it possible to regulate energy consumption effectively. Often, the offices need to get rid of some heat that can be reused for the apartments. This enables you to effectively balance the sources of heat and cold. There will also be numerous terraces across the building, both for the offices and for residents. With CROSSOVER and the Stepstone building, where we will also be letting out 216 first-timer apartments, De Key will soon have two striking social icons in Zuidas.’
Text: Hilde Postma