Between the Sheets

In the centre of the old city, a hidden pattern of secret medeival alleyways has been restored. A new house and atelier built in a bayonet, squeezed between two alleys, the Blue Sheet alley and the Black Sheet Alley. This is one of the few new developments in the historically charged Blue Sheet Block where monuments and restoration take precedence. It is a neighbourhood rich in contrasts and culture, a block with a squatters history and surprising spatial effects. Nestled within the walls of the block, this special spot ‘’between the sheets’’ is in a world of it’s own, where a glimpse of the church tower and the sound of birdsong becomes one’s only contact with the rest of the city. It is a ‘backstreet’ world traditionally dressed in virgin white, allowing light and air into an otherwise narrow and dark places of the historical city centre.

The project is steeped in contrasts, on the one hand the Housing Corporation would like a practical, flexible, affordable and durable house. The 4 facades (one being the roofgarden) are faced with 4 different urban conditions. On the other hand there is the new tenant, a cartoonist with a creative family who used to live in an old house down the same alleyway. It was a home overflowing with art, colour, memories and collections, veiled from the outside world allowing light to filter through from unexpected angles. Every space in the house was filled, and every square inch of wallspace covered, the very fabric of the place exudes colour. Between the Sheets was the result of these urban and human conditions; a simple white treasure chest with a veiled facade, a veil behind which a colourful family can create their own world. The designer Chris Kabel was commissioned to give the veil a story of it’s own. By playing with light, the drapes that gave the alleyways their name come to life in Chris’s design for the material; Damask.

Between the Sheets was one of the Top 5 finalists for the Amsterdam Architecture Prize (AAP) 2013 and was selected for the NAi (Dutch Architecture institute) 2012/2013 yearbook as one of the 30 best projects in the Netherlands.