Building the future: Over 200 social rented apartments for first-timers

The De Key housing association is developing a residential tower comprising 216 apartments for first-timers. They will be the first of 2,700 apartments to be built close to VU Amsterdam in the years ahead. The apartments are scheduled for completion in 2024. 

The City of Amsterdam and De Key recently signed an agreement to this effect. Designed by LEVS architects, the tower will be called Stepstone. Having received tenders and draft design from three Dutch architects’ firms, De Key selected this design in consultation with the City. The social rented apartments will be in a tower 80 metres in height and are specifically intended for first-timers up to the age of 28. They will be permitted to live there for up to five years, after which the intention is for them to move on to another home. 


The apartments vary in size from 25 sq. m. to 60 sq. m. The complex will have a roof terrace featuring a sports field, a large courtyard garden, and a communal living room where residents can meet, organise activities, or work. There will be a storage area for bikes and scooters but no parking spaces for cars. The building will feature light materials and glass, numerous balconies, and vertical planting along the fac╠žades.


In alliance with VU Amsterdam and Amsterdam UMC, the City is developing a completely new neighbourhood, the Kenniskwartier (Knowledge Quarter), in this part of Zuidas. The area is to the south of A10, between Parnassusweg/ Buitenveldertselaan, Amstelveenseweg and A.J. Ernststraat. Stepstone will be located on Mahlerlaan, on the area of derelict land behind the Hourglass and NoMa House (offices of Loyens & Loeff and KraftHeinz) buildings. This is where we are building the Kenniskwartier – also known as the Innovation District – with around 2,700 homes. There will also be space for knowledge- related businesses, a primary school, culture, and hospitality and catering. It will be a neighbourhood that brings together healthcare, science, and entrepreneurship. However, it will take quite some time before this development has been completed. 


 By 2023, Kop Zuidas is set to have another housing block. In The Newton, there will be 101 modern and energy-efficient apartments. Judith Everaers, Kop Zuidas urban designer, explains how the City has been involved in the design and construction.Currently, there is nothing to see of the apartments themselves yet. We are now preparing the plot for construction and working behind the scenes on the latest details and the developer COD is developing a so-called BLVC plan with the contractor. COD did not need to tender and already had the right to develop this part of Amsterdam on Gaasterlandstraat. However, that does not give a developer the freedom to decide all of the details themselves. Everaers: ‘For example, COD was obliged to build a residential building with apartments here.’ And that was not the only constraint. 


‘There are many other preconditions that a design must meet’, continues Everaers. ‘This includes such things as the height of the building, the width, use of materials, water storage, and planting. Of course, the building needs to fit into the neighbourhood and with the water-retardant green strips that are characteristic of Kop Zuidas and help to drain away the rainwater.’ The energy performance of The Newton has also been given additional attention. ‘The current requirements are designed to ensure the buildings are as energy-neutral as possible, and you’re aiming for a situation where a building generates as much energy as it consumes.’