Klarenstraat Amsterdam (NL)

Ernest Groosman and Vanschagen Architecten


  • Olv Klijn TU Delft, Architecture and the Built Environment


The Dutch housing market contains several stubborn paradoxes. One of them is that only really ‘old’ and really ‘new’ dwellings are deemed acceptable; everything in between is a bit of a problem. As such, no one is surprised that thousands of euros are invested to actualize historical canal houses or to restore houses from the 1930s. But if those houses were built in the 1960s, 1970s or 1980s, that becomes a lot less self-evident. A different paradox is that, although everyone admits to having their own living requirements, the control residents have over their own home is still very minimal. The project Klussen aan de Klarenstraat (Klarenstraat DIY) in Amsterdam Nieuw-West shows that things might change. The project involves the transformation of a characteristic apartment building from the 1950s into sought-after city residences, without erasing the existing structure. In a process that took a little over two years, 30 families collaborated with architecture firm VanSchagen to renovate walk-up flats into residences of 45 to 200 m2.

Author Biography

Olv Klijn, TU Delft, Architecture and the Built Environment

Olv Klijn is Assistant Professor at Delft University of Technology and founder and partner of FABRICations. Klijn studied architecture at Eindhoven University of Technology and graduated Cum Laude. Klijn has written articles for various architecture magazines, including de Architect, and worked as a junior architect for OMA in Rotterdam. Klijn is (co) author of various books such as VMX Agenda, 10 x Den Bosch, Station Centraal, Architect by accident and The making of ... After founding FABRICations in 2007 with Eric Frijters, he has been involved in the design and research of architecture, urban design and regional strategies. In 2010, FABRICations won the first prize in the Prix de Rome Architecture.  In 2011, Klijn was recognized as one of the 40 emerging European architects under the age of 40. A year later he was nominated for the Iakov Chernikhov International Architecture Prize.