The Gustav by KCAP, the good life in the city


Ossip van Duivenbode,




KCAP Architects&Planners has completed a residential complex in the Zuidas district of Amsterdam. The campus consists of two buildings grouped around a semi-public courtyard that ends up being an extension of the homes and focuses on the tenants’ wellbeing with superior outdoor spaces.

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The Gustav by KCAP, the good life in the city The Zuidas district in Amsterdam is the Dutch capital’s largest financial hub. It has been dubbed the ‘Financial Mile’ and is home to many multinationals and the World Trade Center Amsterdam. It is also the location of the residential project called The Gustav by KCAP. This complex consists of two separate buildings with various typologies, in any case targeting young professionals and first-home buyers. 
The building on the north runs along Gustav Mahlerlaan and consists of 96 studio apartments as well as community spaces at every level. The highlight is a large rooftop terrace: KCAP thoughtfully designed this green area at the top of the building to create an oasis of peace, a refuge from the city. Here, the technical installations that often rear their ugly head on apartment building roofs have been integrated into the subtly undulating heather landscape. The selected plants encourage insects and birds to share the space with the residents who want to enjoy the view or just relax outdoors, turning the roof into a small kingdom of urban biodiversity. The submerged seating areas in this landscape provide secluded, intimate spaces, protected from the wind.
A transparent plinth on the ground floor of this volume acts as a link to city life. A café invites the tenants to make the most of the semi-public green courtyard on this ground floor level, covering the underground parking area that serves both buildings. KCAP developed the courtyard concept as a green extension of the living space, where people can meet their friends, spend time outdoors and supervise their children as they play. The courtyard landscaping has been designed as a compact version of a birch forest, to create a warm, intimate atmosphere. A ribbon of white concrete, which echoes the hues of the two volumes’ facades, is transformed into an element of architectural decoration. The idea was to create a versatile addition to the green, and it can be used as seating or even a dining table, encouraging people to occupy the outdoor area in multiple ways.
The terraced building on the south side, which picks up on the seamless horizontal bands filled with brick panels in a warm white tone of the first residential block, houses 19 small studios on the lower levels and 29 larger units on the upper floors. Private gardens, generous balconies and rooftop terraces provide additional outdoor areas for the homes. The landscaping concept of these spaces is based on the idea of green courtyards, with white concrete elements on the ground floor to bring together the project’s overall visual impact.
The Gustav delivers unique wellbeing to its tenants, because in densely-populated cities, like Amsterdam, “people need more green spaces and outdoor areas where they can relax and meet up”, says Han van den Born, architect and former partner at KCAP.
The Gustav is KCAP’s third project in Amsterdam’s Zuidas district after the 2Amsterdam hotel and management complex and the Django apartment block. The Gustav shares the bold material approach with Django.

Christiane Bürklein

Project: KCAP
Location: Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Year: 2020
Images: Ossip van Duivenbode