In 2014 developer Vesteda bought an existing residential/office apartment on the Boelelaan at the edge of the Amsterdam Zuidas and Buitenveldert. Vesteda's aim is to lease the 154 apartments to young influentials (25-35 years old with middle incomes) and to transform the first floor into a contemporary office, where Vesteda itself is now located. The 1964 building consists of a concrete skeleton and a brick assembly system. With a length of 160 metres and 9 floors, it is an iconic building on the border between the dynamic Zuidas and the quiet residential area of Buitenveldert. Next to it is an almost identical apartment building, which had been renovated a little earlier, where the old residents of De Boel could move into prior to the renovation. If you now see both flats next to each other, you get the impression that De Boel's previously renovated neighbour still needs to be renovated. De Boel's appearance is so modern and new.
Dick de Gunst, architect at Hans van Heeswijk architects, explains the transformation: "We have renovated De Boel for the same budget as the neighbouring apartment, but the appearance is completely different. The most important difference is the transparency. For example, by using expanded steel balustrades we have made the balconies and galleries much more transparent. The slanting placement of the fences makes the galleries appear wider and balconies larger." The ground floor and first floor have also undergone a metamorphosis. De Gunst explains how: "Glass doors open up the previously very closed ground floor. A large part of this layer now consists of parking spaces for electric BMWs, painted in bright colours, which Vesteda residents and employees share. During the day, the employees usually use the cars, while in the evening and at weekends, the residents make more use of the shared cars. The system must encourage Vesteda employees to come to work by public transport or bicycle.
De Gunst: "With relatively cheap means such as paintwork, we can still give a very fresh look to this more than 50 year old flat, despite the limited budget. The entrance halls and stairwells are painted bright yellow, which contrasts beautifully with the black stairwells. On the outside, the two stairwells are painted in a dark grey colour, with the buildings name De Boel on it in glossy paint. The axes of the external spiral staircases are also painted in a dark colour, and the steps in white, thus reinforcing their graceful form.
The same goes for the black support beams underneath the white galleries which, due to their contrast, bring a pleasant rhythm to the gallery façade. The end wall is decorated with a mural by artist Victor Ash with a rearing black bull against a white background. The black bull refers to the name of the flat, but is also a term for economic growth and thus also refers to the Zuidas.