The target for The Wave was to combine interesting architecture with outstanding value for money. In view of the simple supporting structure, the façade material needed to be light and extremely sturdy, with outstanding shaping properties. The high salt content near to the sea and the high relative humidity required the material to meet stringent corrosion resistance requirements.
All 49 apartments in The Wave have living rooms that look out onto the lake. Theirs is a prestigious address in the up-and-coming, 170,000 population city of Almere, which, like all the surrounding area, was reclaimed from the sea.
With this project, René van Zuuk has shown that architecture need not be boring, shoebox stuff to be both functional and inexpensive. Redefining corrugated sheeting, to something made of smooth, coil-coated aluminium, is the achievement of architect René van Zuuk from Almere.
From a distance and a certain angle his block of apartments in Almere appears futuristic. It looks out of kilter, with nothing seeming to be straight or in the right place. The scale-like façade elements almost appear to fall from the walls, arranged like steps, both vertically and horizontally, and all the while reminiscent of a wave. It may be unusual and require some time to get used to, but it is also remarkably attractive. An eye catcher if ever there was one – and a cleverly functional one at that.
The Dutch have unusually strict requirements regarding the corrosion resistance of every material used in outside architecture. This is attributable to factors, such as
- Holland’s proximity to the sea (the salinity of the air),
- a large concentration of fresh water (such as the Rhine estuary, canals and lakes), resulting in high air humidity,
- a high concentration of chemicals in the atmosphere from fallout (for example, from refineries in Rotterdam),
- a densely populated area with a consequently high level of emissions,
- the highest concentration of heated greenhouses in Europe and
- a relatively high level of ammonia, the result of intensive farming.
All these elements are then mixed together by the prevailing west wind brought by the Gulf Stream with no mountains to block it.
It’s little wonder then that, alongside Great Britain with its industrial atmosphere and Florida with its UV rays, the paint and coating industry selected Holland as its test country for aggressive atmosphere.
From a distance and a certain angle this block of apartments in Almere appears futuristic. The scale-like aluminium façade elements almost appear to fall from the walls, arranged like steps, both vertically and horizontally.
© Novelis Europe