TOWERHOUSE densifying historical urban matrix

October 22, 2018


axonometric view: Towerhouse Amsterdam

Miniature triangulated site, almost a crack in urban tissue, provides possibility for a custom developed, personalised urban living in Amsterdam’s Jordaan district. A kind of ‘Japanese’ house, hopefully the kind of Azuma’s Tokyo dwelling. Takemitsu Azuma’s private house is the ‘grandmother’ of all Tokyo’s pocket houses, densifying the urban tissue and making intelligent interpretations of the building codes to provide maximum spatial quality within compact area.



reference: Takamitsu Azuma, 1966, source

In our proposal, the articulation of the built volume, densifies the historical urban matrix, but also allows glimpses into layers of time on the location by preserving visibility of the old side wall.  The sidewall gets framed by the new intervention and becomes the part of rich urban typologies in the street. Volume and openings are treated and detailed in an abstract manner, achieving an almost sculpture-like effect, which was so appreciated by the ‘Welstand’ – city’s beauty committee. The house plan makes use of the ‘thickest’ part of the triangular site and stretches over five floors. The fifth floor, hidden under the steep roofline, opens towards grand urban vistas over Amsterdam centre towards the IJ river.

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Each floor of the house contains varied viewlines, atmosphere and light condition. Each floor has one program only: study, kitchen, living, sleeping, top room. Diagonal views throughout the plan increase the spaciousness of the rooms and create dynamic play in-between the light and the shadow. Material of the facade, patinated zinc, is merging in with the colour of the street. The important detail i the facade articulation is the sharp connections between the window openings, visible in the (rainy) street view. Sliding panels at the entrance have simple perforation, geometrical with a twist. Twist also recreates the plan of the building plot in the corner section of the perforations.

above: characteristic floorplan

below: detail of the facade perforation

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The realisation of the building has just started. The foundation piles are in the ground, meaning that the invisible part of the house is finished. Thanks to devoted team Esther, Juliette, Simone, and Most obliged to our special, wonderful clients and co-creators E&J!

invisible Towerhouse structure






‘FISHEYE’ imagined future in the Delta’s

June 29, 2016

Scene 8_midsection and visual of the Fisheye Laboratory

Fisheye Laboratory,  imagines possible water related future for the World Delta regions. Dealing with water, biodiversity, economy, politics of nature and cohabitation. Cross-linking scales and their interactions from global to microscopic the initial team consists of landscape and architects, artists, scientists (aquatic biologist, ecologist), enthusiasts, spatial planners and governance officials.160330_krat1map with layers of history, ecology, flows, waterdepths, currents

Sailing on our test site Markermeer – Ijsselmeer with Lada Hršak, Saline Verhoven, Takako Hamano, Harm van der Geest, Klaas Jan Wardenaar, Zef Hemel, Esther Agricola, Mirjana Milanović, Fleur van Dissel, Frans Boots, Donna van Milligen Bielke, Ekim Tan, Danielle Huls, Anouk Vogel, Su Tomesen, Teguh Hartanto, Ida Wanders and Many Others.markermeer_sml

learning about the aquatic biology biodiversiteit_sml


March 24, 2016

OPEN_05_smlpossible futures of the Amsterdam Metropolitan Region, Volksvlijt 2056, group exhibition with Z. Hemel, M. Milanovic, M. Bogaert, M. van Iersel, D. van Milligen Bielke, S. Broekhof, J. Bystrykh, S. vd Breemer, H. Zonderland, SpaceMatter, B. Doedens, B. Hamfeld, J. Ouburg, P. Verpaalen, R. Boer, S. Najand,   

FISHEYE Blue Ecology Markermeer  (looking at the world through the eye of the fish)

If the world population growth turns to be true, estimating to the 9,6 billion people by 2050, than the ecology becomes matter of anthropology.  Survival in extreme climate with scarce resources requires revision of our acts and desires. At that point economy becomes an issue of empathy. New economy is conceived in coproduction between nature, science and art.

Focusing on the essential life resource – the water we imagine the world as if looking from the eye of the fish. ‘FISHEYE LAB’  serves as a design laboratory developing narratives for the future ‘water society’. Society based on equity between plants, people and animals re-articulates desires and develops the new economy. Protagonists of the story as hybrids between man and nature are co-creating water society by cleansing, producing, feeding and hosting.OPEN 08_smlOPEN 04_sml

The exhibition will stage the interactive ‘FISHEYE LAB’ where children and visitors could dream up the new balanced world. Water narratives can be experienced on four different scales ranging from global, regional, architectural to microscopic. Stories present: ecology, biology, microbiology, culture, architecture, art and fiction. We shall get to love it.

opening at Amsterdam Public Library, OBA on 12. april 2016.

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January 18, 2016

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octopus as inspiration for ‘Watereye’ design

Bare with us as the new website is on the way. Website will be presented as an open platform or a ‘tapas-plate’ with ingredients. Research, design and utopias will stand side by side hopefully creating cross – disciplinary energy. Bureau LADA stands for Landscape, Architecture, Design and Art.

Last year was good! Amongst others for The New Institute in Rotterdam and curator Dirk van den Heuvel we designed the performative exhibition design on Dutch  ‘Structuralism’.  Collaboration with Su Tomesen and Teguh Hartanto resulted in tropical house in Jogjakarta and ‘Potemkin Mountain’ a placemaking spatial intervention in collaboration with Stichting ‘Rhizomatic’.


‘Joglo’ tropical house in Jogjakarta, with Su Tomesen and Teguh Hartanto

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‘Potemkin Mountain’ with Stichting Rhizomatic

This year, upon invitation by Zef Hemel and Mirjana Milanović we are proud to take part in the visionary exhibition ‘Volksvlijt 2016 ‘ on future economies of Amsterdam Metropolitan Region. Currently we are developing utopian design ‘Watereye’ with hybrid organism for water energy, plants, animals and people.


‘Watereye’ Markermeer, with Juliette Gilson

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‘Rakovci’ landscape villa’s in Istra Ctoatia

Further we are continuing to work on compact housing solutions, one of them the interpolation in Amsterdam urban gap. The ‘Towerhouse’. with E.W and  J.W.  An experimental house in Amsterdam Noord and urban regeneration process in Zagreb, Croatia are hopefully commencing soon.


‘Towerhouse’ Amsterdam




November 25, 2014

Performative exhibition: ‘Structuralism, An Installation in Four Acts’Schwartz_sml

photo J. Schwartz

Staging of the exhibition ventures to explore the performative aspects of viewing, discussing and learning. ‘Caught in the middle’ of a gigantic red ‘platform’ the viewer simultaneously becomes the exhibit and the audience, being able to switch at glance between looking, absorbing and engaging.SML BL_06 opening HertzbergerKenneth Frampton and Herman Hertzberger at the performance platform during the opening

The four Acts: Education, Ideals, Building and The City stand for the four thematic exhibitions, and the change of the material becomes a performance itself. Curators and conservation team replacing the valuable originals of Piet Blom, A. van Eyck, T. van Doesburgh, J. Habraken, H. Hertzberger. In a time when diverged musea look for broadening of the audience this design provides an experimental take on the given theme. Programming of the events like the ‘Salons Structuralistes’ or evening performances are led by the curator Dirk van den Heuvel, Flora van Galen and Aart Helder.

‘Salons Structuralistes’……….Visits to the exhibition are theatricized, sometimes become performances in the cases of the opening and public debates in the evening. To this end the installation is conceived as both a podium and a large furniture piece. The ‘spaces’ of the installation also aim to evoke the spaces of research and learning by including among others heavy chests with drawers filled with extra materials from the archive, a small library devoted to the teachings of the forgotten Joop Hardy,SML BL_07 opening read a digital repository of images of the vast collections of the Institute, and a seminar space for weekly public conversations and improvised meetings. The design of the installation by Bureau LADA eventually evokes the spaces of Dutch Structuralism and its larger international context, the debates on the future of modern architecture which took place between the members of Team 10, the Japanese Metabolists and such crucial individuals as Louis Kahn. The installation is a mini-megastructure, a landscape and environment at the same time.……from the curatorial statement by Dirk van den HeuvelSML BL_10 det curtain


September 7, 2014

Exhibition under the umbrella title ‘Structuralism’ will open on saturday 20th September 2014 at The New Institute in Rotterdam. The title covers the approaches by two curators/architects: Herman Hertzberger and Dirk van den Heuvel. One focuses on comprehensive personal work and ideals, while the other reflects the development and relevance of structuralism within the wider Dutch architectural context. Structuralism forms the most important Dutch contribution to the architectural debate in the second part of 20th century, with an inclusive, poetic alternative to the technocratic ideologies just after the WW2.

Bureau LADA is responsible for the exhibition design curated by Dirk van den Heuvel in his role as the director of the Jaap Bakema Study Centre. The installation combines the exhibition, seminar space, learning and reading spaces, all in one performative platform where audience becomes part of the exhibition. Proposal explores the performative aspects of viewing, discussing and learning while presenting the original archive materials in a consistent manner. The exhibits count many interesting drawings, models and objects, most of which will be presented for the first time for the wider audience.Exp 03Spatial language of the installation deals with the issues of the individual viewer within the collective platform and refers to several characteristic structuralist spatial elements like the roofscapes of Piet Blom and segmented circles of Aldo van Eyck.EXP 01 execution Landstra de Vries, designteam Lada Hršak,Vesna Poljančić

For each of the Four acts being: Education, Ideals, Building and The City, the exhibition platform will alter it’s height. This allows four different  changes of material and provides four different spatial experiences, looking ontop, on, in and under the platform.Four Acts_Height 3 sml

Paired with an interesting public debates programme, viewing of the exhibition combines digital and analogue presentation techniques. Legendary architectural critic Kenneth Frampton will give the first lecture before the official opening under the title: Casbah Organisée as City-in-miniature: Open Work vs. Space of Public Appearance.


March 19, 2014

Lect 2In Bahasa Indonesia, Lada means Pepper, therefore our local office name would be Bureau PEPPER. (Good enough to keep) This is all thanks to Dutch artist Su Tomesen and her Indonesian husband Teguh who invited us to design their Yogyakarta home, Yoglo con house. Located at the southern rim of the city where rice-paddies and tropical trees alternate with spontaneous building growth. Adding a new dot to the ‘Sites’ of out nomadic architectural experiences. Bonair_landscp‘Brede School on Bonaire’   Tropical experience (between tropics of cancer and capricorn) is not alien to us, as we collect the old ‘Tropical Modernity’ booklet from Brasil, the Antilles Bonaire school project, Nouvelle Caledonie eco resort (with Molasses), Sri Lankan Matara studio with Kelly Shanon and the Dutch Embassy in Addis Ababa (for Van Gameren Mastenbroek).Addis __Looking forward to the next tropical design experience!!! (no cold bridges, but rather open connections, good wind flow and screens in the lush vegetation are the topic)  Wonderful site – research trip looking at traditional typologies, materials and inspiration was rounded up with the visit to Borobodour temple with Edi Arinto and lecture invitation by Eko Prawoto at the Duta Wacana Christian University in Yogyakarta. Hopefully we will meet again.


November 7, 2013

photographs Dieuwertje Komen                                                         text on frameweb by François-Luc Giraldeau                               cabinetmaker Martijn Pekelharing                        

Amsterdam-based architectural firm Bureau LADA has come up with an innovative and compact living unit that meets all the needs and requirements of a creative German filmmaker while promoting an intriguing reinterpretation of the 17th-century Dutch merchants’ traditional lifestyle.Zauberkast

Zauberkast – a neologism formed by the combination of the German word for magic, Zauber, and the Dutch word for closet, kast – is the proposition laid out by the client to the founding partner Lada Hršak as part of the refurbishment of a historical Amsterdam canal house.

The architect’s built-in modular intervention opens itself almost magically, revealing a series of functions that enable up to four programmatic configurations. This 67 cm-thick unit can be adapted to create a living room, a kitchen and a bedroom/bathroom while providing the owner with extensive storage possibilities.Zauberkast



A white curtain conceals a brightly coloured sofa that folds out deftly to become a spacious bed. As this central piece of furniture defines a clear resting/sleeping area, a small wall-mounted dining table is used to mark a certain distance between it and the fairly simple cooking facilities.Zauberkast

Given the significant housing shortage caused by the exorbitant cost of living in central Amsterdam, architects are now requested to constantly develop alternative space-saving design solutions to make the most of what’s available. Zauberkast may not match everyone’s style of living but it definitely constitutes a promising overview of the current possibilities of compact urban life.


September 7, 2013

TX_SCAFFOLD_ExpCONGRATULATIONS to Merixell Blanco Diaz with her Cum Laude graduation project: VINEXMARKT !!!!!

The opportunity to write a report for Txell’s graduation puts me in the enviable position of creating a text that supports our recommendation that she graduate cum laude. What impressed us most in this extraordinary project is her originality and the pioneering position this design takes in relation to the future of our profession. She epitomises the need for a revised position of the designer, combining the conceptual starting points with architectural design by using social methods. (mentor and supervisors: Lada Hršak, Kamiel Klaasse, Jochem Heijmans)TX_VNX1_s

The graduation project ‘Vinexmarkt’ is a personal and intriguing exercise, combining into one the layers of concept, architecture and art with Txell’s own social engagement. The brief has an autobiographical quality generated by her real life experience of moving to Leidsche Rijn, possibly the last Vinex housing location to be built in the Netherlands. The design process is articulated with the curiosity of one who passes through life with their eyes open, seeking out spaces suitable for ‘exploitation’. The neighbourhood where she and hundreds of others live is not visible on Googlemaps which still shows an agricultural landscape even though the last farm departed years ago. Several future plans for the area have been widely publicised leaving the residents caught somewhere between the past and future. What is the identity of this place in the making, and who are the other ‘pioneers’ living there? Who are my neighbours, and where do I meet them? The research embarks with these questions in mind on a quest for the character and identity of Leidsche Rijn.TX_VNX2_s

Txell developed a personal design trajectory flitting alternately between the many roles of our profession. As social activist, researcher, designer, technician and assembly instructor she engaged directly with the narrative’s other protagonists. Displaying endless energy, she contacted and spoke to an impressive number of people ranging from the Local Authority’s marketing advisor, urban planners and structural engineers to local entrepreneurs and the last farmer to vacate the area.TX_PubSp

In her search for the meaning of Vinex and its potential as a place for interaction, she proposes the Vinex Markt – a specific market formed by hijacking the characteristic Vinex building module (a repetitive 5.1m suburban housing grid) and using it to generate a covered, yet open marketplace with an iconic quality. Located on a vacant site adjacent to the train station, Vinex Markt is arranged in a square layout that differentiates the submerging inner square from the outer zone. The stalls are located between the concrete dividing walls with concrete furniture to aid the activities of buying, selling, playing etc. The market serves as the missing public forum: a local place capable of transforming to suit its users with their various interventions and activities as: the ‘classic’ market, extended market, playground, meeting place, cafe, cinema, theatre etc….TX_SCAFFOLD_DRW

The material presented for her graduation consisted of conceptual analysis, action-research, urban studies, a design proposal,design details, plans for flexible use, water and sustainability schemes and a host of models arranged in a variety of scales (1:500, 1:100, 1:20 and 1:1 poured in concrete). It also included a beautiful scale model of the wooden scaffolding illustrating how the idea can be developed in the future.TX Pour

See the blog and our earlier post Rearranging the Real