Kleiburg is the only apartment block which retains its original appearance after refurbishment of the iconic Bijlmermeer development. Just before its planned demolition, it was decided to preserve this building and restore it to its former glory. In contrast to the other apartment blocks where the refurbishment work focused on diluting their uniformity, the opposite approach was adopted for Kleiburg. Only the main structure of DeFlat Kleiburg – the lifts, balconies, walkways, systems and building plant - has been modernised; the future occupants are responsible for redecorating the vacant apartments. Moving the lift shafts inside has restored the clean aesthetics of the long horizontal lines which characterise the building. The concrete, which was painted white, has been sandblasted. The bottom two layers have been modified to the greatest extent: moving the storage rooms to the upper floors has created space for apartments on the ground floor. The result is a lively ‘baseboard’ which connects the apartment block to the neighbourhood and firmly anchors Kleiburg in the surrounding park and district. New lines of sight have been created in the park landscape by extending the street-level walkways upward to create spacious double-height connections.
DeFlat Kleiburg has finally become what its designers intended in the nineteen sixties: an open building where people from different cultures and with different educational backgrounds live together in a space which combines residential accommodation with work. As the strength of the Bijlmer lies in the massive scale of the structures, the committee is pleased to see that the team has succeeded in preserving and adding new value to this type of apartment block. After years of decay and neglect, we at last see appreciation of this brutalist architecture. The project was developed at the height of the financial crisis so the team’s success in making part of Amsterdam’s architectural history relevant again under those circumstances is a noteworthy achievement.
Kleiburg has finally become what it was meant to be: an attractive place to live and work for people of all cultures and backgrounds. The project was developed in the midst of the recession and, within those parameters, has amply succeeded in revitalizing this area of Amsterdam. The project has had an unmistakable impact, both socially and economically. The positive reactions of residents and the community and the rising price of land are the best testament to the success of DeFlat Kleiburg.