“Unexpected” domesticity: Housing design of OMA’s IJ-plein masterplan project in Amsterdam

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This article focuses on the OMA’s IJ-plein master plan located on a former shipping wharf in Amsterdam North (1980-1988). Particularly in the domesticity of the different dwellings, which were designed by six other offices, including the one by Koolhaas, and were 100% for social housing. This project is considered one of the turning points of what finally culminated in the 1990s’ Super Dutch. Several authors have studied this project, particularly Bernard Leupen, author of the book “IJ-Plein. Een speurotcht naar niewusw compositiorische mideelen” [IJ-Plein. A search for new compositional idea] (010, 1989). However, as Leupen himself pointed out, his study lacks specific issues, such as evaluating dwellings and their use. It was published immediately after the project ended. More recently, other authors have studied the project, such as Christophe Van Gerrewey in “A Weissenhofsiedlung for Amsterdam” (Anyone, 2018) or Lara Schrijver in “Stubborn Modernity, IJ-plein Amsterdam” (OASE, 2015). While these are significant contributions, they do not delve into the design of the dwellings, developing questions related to commissioning, process, or precedents. This study offers a new analysis of the project with an emphasis on housing design: not only on their novel interpretation of modern tradition at the time of their conception, but on the inherent and unexpected domesticity of their typological proposals today.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 2022
EventEuropean Network in Housing Research Conference : The Struggle for the ‘Right to Housing’: The Pressures of Globalization and Affordability in Cities Today - ETSAB, UPC, Barcelona, Spain
Duration: 31 Aug 20222 Sept 2022


ConferenceEuropean Network in Housing Research Conference
Abbreviated titleENHR Conference
Internet address


  • IJ-plein
  • domesticity
  • social housing
  • HAT-unit
  • Dutch modernism
  • 1980’s


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