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De Olijfboom

The Netherlands, Schiedam
Black Nazareth was the striking nickname of Schiedam until the mid-20th century. Schiedam was known for its successful Jenever production, but the downside of its success was the pollution from the coal-fired distilleries and glass blowing factories. Most Jenever factories in the city have now made way for housing, just as the Dirkzwager site that is also being redeveloped. From the end of the 19th century until 2011, the area was in the hands of the royal distillery M. Dirkzwager, where, among other things, the Jenever of Floryn came from. Storage sheds are being demolished to make way for new mansions, monumental warehouses and distilleries are being transformed into apartments, a hotel and multifunctional business accommodation.


In the middle of the site, next to the Drillschuur, stood an unusual building from 1908; a coppersmith's shop topped by the only house on the site. The workshop was eventually used as a garage for the cars of the director of the distillery himself, but previously served as a spray cleaning room for bottles and boilers, which was clearly visible in the poor condition of the building.
In 2021, Niels Olivier Architect saw the opportunity to take over the building from the developer and convert it into a private home. For this purpose, the workshop was merged with the house on top, and the adjacent storage shed was demolished to make way for a garden.
The front of the building has a monumental status. To honor this status, the masonry has been cleaned and repointed, all windows have been replaced by their insulated variant, the natural stone ornaments have been refurbished and the stained glass has been revised and replaced in double glazing. The original garage doors have been retained and insulated on the inside.
The rear of the building does not have monumental status and has often been changed over the years. Several sheds have stood against the building here. The ground floor has always been in open connection with those warehouses. Here we saw the opportunity to break architecturally with the past and create a contemporary rear facade consisting of white stucco, minimalist aluminum facades and thermally preserved wood.

The bottom two floors have been completely transformed internally. The ground floor has been converted into a kitchen/diner. The kitchen, with a huge storage cupboard at the rear, is strategically placed in the room as a separate piece of furniture, shielding the access to the toilet and the passage to the backyard. The ground floor is functionally divided this way without creating cubicles. The ceramic cooker is integrated in a separate, movable piece of furniture, a cooking rideland.
The facade to the garden has both a horizontal and vertical sliding part. An oak bench is integrated under the vertical sliding window. If the window is open you can sit in this inside or outside. A small awning above the facade ensures that the window can remain open when it rains.
The ground floor is connected to a lounge on the first floor via a void. The light colored by stained glass on the first floor also falls on the ground floor. At the same time, you can look out into the garden from the lounge through the mezzanine and the rear facade.
The building is fully insulated on the inside and equipped with an air-water heat pump (gasless). In terms of sustainability, it scores just as high as a new-build house.
Axonometry, Housing, Transformation
Project data:
Schiedam (NL)
Reconstruction apartment
203 m²
Niels Olivier
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