New Kid on the Block

With sensitivity to local building typologies, fresh construction finds a place in Amsterdam.

The luminous, tailor-made home where architect James Jeffries lives with his wife, Emily, and their two-year-old son, Jack, in Amsterdam’s Oud-West neighborhood is a far cry from the crumbling structure they bought in 2012. Built in the early 20th century, the brick building consisted of just one main floor under a pointed roof with ramshackle tiles. There had not been any major renovation for decades, and there was no central heating. Most crucially, the wooden pillars were in poor shape, and the building was sinking due to a weak foundation. "The structural condition of the house was so bad that the existing facade would have had to have been torn down when renewing the foundation," says Jeffries, a partner at London- and Amsterdam-based firm 31/44 Architects.

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