We love it when architects repurpose abandoned structures, and Ontwerpgroep Trude Hooykaas’s Kraanspoor office building in Amsterdam is a shining example. Literally meaning “Crane Track,” Kranspoor was an abandoned crane gantry from the 1950s, left to decay in one of Amsterdam’s former shipyards. Now, a stylish three storey office building has been built atop the original concrete craneway.
The solid gantry stretches 885 feet across the shipyard. OTH utilized the elevated base as a foundation for Kraanspoor, having the building span its entire length. The office building “hovers” strikingly above the concrete craneway by three meters on a steel frame. One side of the building cantilevers over the waterway of the River Ij, just as a revolving crane had in the past.
OTH created a dazzling double-glass façade for Kraanspoor, with a motorized moveable outer layer of delicate lacey glass. The inner layer features functional floor-to-ceiling hinged windows, which allow for natural ventilation. The timber lined windows also block heat in the summer, and the winter cold. An internal pump utilizes water from the Ij to aid in climate control in the building.
OTH repurposed as much of the original structure as possible. The original stairwells remain and now house elevators and new emergency stairs. Catwalks that were used by crane operators have been updated to become Kraanspoor’s fire escape. The original space below the gantry has been repurposed as a massive storage facility.
At night, the illuminated Kraanspoor appears as a celestial body floating above the water. A fusion of old and new architecture, Kraanspoor brings new life to the wharf, while preserving its original shipping history.
Via Core 77