along the waterfront
De Zwaan apartment building, Voorburg
Set at right angles to the centuries-old road linking the village cores of Rijswijk and Voorburg and level with the bridge over the Trekvliet (behind the street elevation), is the Zwaan apartment building, configured as an elongated, low-slung, lightweight volume terminated by a nine-storey tower. The elegant curve of the low-rise makes the tower seem free-standing when viewed from the bridge (Geestbrug). This pale-rendered vertical thrust acts as a foil to the picturesque old brick villa lying in the foreground along the water.
Unlike the perimeter blocks - strapped as they are into street patterns thrown up along the ancient thoroughfare by speculation at the onset of the previous century - the Zwaan building stands in independence, the tiny gardens of its ground-floor units abutting a strip of public greenspace along the waters of Trekvliet. A gentle kink in the street pattern is taken up in the building itself, its tall head and low-lying tail curling away from the body. The cross section is similarly stepped. A grid of balconies almost severed from the main structure and a set-back roof level orchestrate the building's progress from waterfront to sky.
Remarkably, residents can park almost at their door, discounting the eight front doors on the water side. The magnificent walking route through and around the building, along the banks of Trekvliet and Broeksloot, is an echo of Cromvliet, the country seat standing on Rijswijk soil across the waters of the Vliet.
Awards and nominations
- Selection Stichting Wonen, Best buildings of 1986
Publications de Zwaan appartment building
- atelier PRO Hans van Beek. Immeuble Zwaan à Voorburg, prè de la Haye'l'Architecture d'aujourd'- hui, nr7 (1988)
- 'Der Schwan am Fluss. Wohnbebauung "Zwaan"in Voorburg, Niederlande'Deutsche Bauzeitung, nr 6 (1987) p22-25
- 'Rive, dérive', Techniques & Architecture, nr 375 (1987/1988), p128-131
- atelier PRO, 'El cisne de canal. Alojamento social en Voorburg (sic), La Haya', A&V: monografias de arquitectura y vivienda, 19(1989) 19, p50-53