Building upon architecture

Every architectural design carries the seed of a new world. But architecture is never a completely new beginning. All architecture builds on what already is. Building is always the transformation of a world that is already there. Architecture reforms. The aim of any architectural intervention is to improve what is already there, to supplement what is lacking, to repair what is not working. To meet unfulfilled wishes, to give shape to desires and needs. By changing, renewing, reorganising. Not by starting all over again.

Exacting additions

Building upon, and onward can be done in countless ways. At Serge Schoemaker Architects, it starts with the recognition that reform requires open-mindedness and accuracy. Open-mindedness to recognise the valuable qualities and possibilities of what is; accuracy to make what is being reformed part of a greater whole. All this requires not only architectural expertise and craftsmanship, but also a highly developed aesthetic intelligence. A keen eye, a sense of beauty, and a precise hand.

Spatial continuity

Just as the architecture of Serge Schoemaker Architects manages to give the past a place in the present (and vice versa), the work also has a spatial continuity. Transitions from interior to building and from building to environment are designed with the same attention and sense of detail. This gives furniture and interiors an architectural character; buildings the sophistication of a piece of furniture.

 

Architecture and building

Architecture and construction are closely related to Serge Schoemaker Architects. Just as a graphic designer cannot suffice with indicating how text and illustrations are put on a page, but also needs to know how a book is printed and bound, an architect must know the possibilities (and impossibilities) of building. A thorough knowledge of building forms the self-evident basis for the architectural designs of Serge Schoemaker Architects. Making a design is directly connected with making a building.

Sustained attention

For Serge Schoemaker Architects there is an overlap between the customisation of the design and the manufacturing of the execution. The realisation is directly in line with the design. The ‘what’ and the ‘how’ of making are intimately intertwined. The optimal outcome is achieved through the involvement of designers in the entire process, from initial idea to delivery, and close collaboration with all parties involved, from clients to builders.

Radically understated

The agency bears the founder’s name. Serge Schoemaker’s design attitude is directional and determines the signature of the office, which is radically understated. Yet, it is the addition ‘Architects’, in plural, that indicates that his approach and ideas are shared by the whole team. The office creates architecture that is supported by a personal approach, leading to buildings full of character: tangible, atmospheric, elegant.

 

Amsterdam Canal House - Serge Schoemaker Architects

News | Amsterdam Canal House listed for heritage award

May 16, 2024

Our Amsterdam Canal House is listed for the “Heritage Sustainability 2024”, an award celebrating the most inspirational renovations of residential monuments in the Netherlands. The award is an initiative of the Cultural Heritage Agency, the National Restoration Fund and the Nederland Monumentenland foundation. The aim of the award is to stimulate the opertunities found in transition. Inspiring others, alongside the owners of residential monuments. If you also think our project is worthy of this sustainability award, please give us your vote at before June 30th!

Vote here

Serge Schoemaker Architects - Alley of Light

News | Alley of Light on show at Royal Light Festival

March 13, 2024

Today, the mayor of Apeldoorn, Ton Heerts, opened the Royal Light Festival 2024. During this festival, our art installation “Alley of Light” can be seen in the monumental Grote Kerk in Apeldoorn. Following exhibitions in Amsterdam, Norrköping, Shenzhen, Riga and Lugano, this time the 19-meter-high interior space of this 1842 church serves as the backdrop for our light artwork. Alley of Light can be visited in the Grote Kerk of Apeldoorn, between 19:00-22:30 hours, from March 13 to March 17.

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Amsterdam House Extension - Serge Schoemaker Architects

Completed | Extension of a 1950s home in Amsterdam

January 23, 2024

In the L-shaped extension of this 1950s home in Amsterdam, Serge Schoemaker Architects has strengthened the relationship between the interior and exterior spaces and optimized it to create more living space and daylight. This project consisted of an initial brief to modernise the extension of the backyard and led to a complete metamorphosis of the first floor. Thanks to carefully chosen materials, a sophisticated interplay of lines and the L-shaped extension, the residents have felt like they are in a completely new city location since the renovation.

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Article | German magazine Bauwelt features Fort Hoofddorp

December 15, 2023

We are honoured to be included in this special thematic edition of Bauwelt, the leading German magazine for architecture. The December issue features several adaptive reuse projects dealing with former bunkers, such as the enormous St. Pauli bunker in Hamburg as well as our transformation of Fort Hoofddorp. In the article “Von der Sichtbarwerdung”, Bauwelt editor Josepha Landes describes how this reuse project in Hoofddorp has put both the site and our Amsterdam office on the map.

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Serge Schoemaker Architect - Amsterdam Canal House

New project | Renovation of a listed Amsterdam Canal House

October 16, 2023

The practice has been commissioned to renovate this charming canal house situated in the heart of the city of Amsterdam. The designated state monument on Bloemgracht will be modernised, extended and made more sustainable. Our task is to add a contemporary layer to this centuries-old building, consciously preserving the historical details and distinctive atmosphere. The renovation project will be completed 2024 and is the third protected canal house in Amsterdam which Serge Schoemaker Architects works on.

Portrait Serge Schoemaker (2023)

Video | Serge Schoemaker on the transformation of Fort Kudelstaart

August 28, 2023

The Zeilfort masterplan envisages the transformation of the 60,000 m2  fort site in Kudelstaart into a high-quality nautical centre with additional mooring spots and harbour amenities, hotel rooms, spa/wellness facilities and meeting spaces. The Zeilfort design also includes a restaurant, café and small museum. To safeguard the cultural-historical value of the UNESCO World Heritage site, the extension to the historical fort is completely integrated into the embankments and covered in earth. In the short video, Serge Schoemaker explains the idea behind the masterplan (Dutch only).

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Work in progress | Permanent light installation for Fort Hoofddorp

June 13, 2023

In close collaboration with artist Siba Sahabi, Serge Schoemaker Architects developed a proposal for a permanent light installation in the canal of Fort Hoofddorp. The sculptural art work will be placed on the pillars of the former bridge. The design highlights the historical connection with the fort island and visualises the site’s dynamic relation with the past and present. The work has been commissioned by the municipality of the Haarlemmermeer and is supported by the Province of North Holland. To be completed 2023.

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New project | Renovation of a 19th-century state monument in Utrecht

April 2, 2023

This month, we start with the challenging renovation and conversion of a designated state monument in Utrecht, designed by Dutch architect Houtzagers. Built in 1898, the 400m2 large town house is full of authentic details and part of his representative housing block at Emmalaan. These townhouses around Wilhelminapark in Utrecht were built at the end of the 19th century to offer well-to-do citizenry an alternative to the bustle of the city centre. Serge Schoemaker Architects will modernise the building and make it more sustainable.

Completed | Renovated interior in Hoofddorp reveals hidden qualities

March 5, 2023

Serge Schoemaker Architects takes great pleasure in giving spaces an architectural character. In the process of renovating this detached house, the spaciousness of the floor plan and the tactility of the materials also became central to design. With a number of small incisive changes, the new design reveals and emphasises the hidden qualities of the house. This restraint in the use of materials has led to a simple yet elegant interior.

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News | Serge Schoemaker Architects celebrates 15th anniversary

January 5, 2023

In 2008, our architecture practice was founded with the conviction that the optimal outcome is achieve through the involvement of architects in the entire process, from initial idea to delivery, and close collaboration with all parties involved, from clients to builders. Since then, Serge Schoemaker Architects has been creating architecture that is supported by a strong personal approach, leading to buildings full of character: tangible, atmospheric, elegant. 
Serge Schoemaker Architects - Democratic School Amsterdam - Iso

Completed | Amsterdam museum transformed into school

December 21, 2022

The former Coopery Museum in Amsterdam is an extension to the Mill of Sloten, a polder mill and provincial monument. Economic conditions forced the museum to close its doors in 2020. It turned out to be the perfect building to house the Democratic School Amsterdam, which was looking for new accommodation. The school invited Serge Schoemaker Architects to design the crowdfunded museum conversion, which has been completely executed by volunteers.

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Work in progress | The ambitious transformation of Fort Kudelstaart

September 16, 2022

Serge Schoemaker Architects completed the Preliminary Design for the envisioned transformation of Fort Kudelstaart. Thanks to its prominent location next to the Westeinderplassen, it serves as a perfect base for water sports. Zeilfort Kudelstaart aims to transform this UNESCO World Heritage site into a vibrant nautical center with harbor facilities, hotel rooms, meeting rooms, a restaurant, and a harbor café. All of this will be done while preserving the fort’s green character and its monumental value as a national heritage site.

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New project | Freestanding villa in canton St.Gallen, Switzerland

August 1, 2022

Balancing on the edge of a steep river valley in the Swiss Wil region, this house is composed of a light geometric concrete structure resting on the solid volumes of the ground floor that emerge from the landscape. The building provides space for our client along with guest accommodation for their large extended family to gather. The two levels of the house provide very different living conditions: enclosed and protected below and expansive and airy above.

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Article | Architizer features Amsterdam Canal House

July 27, 2022

The online architecture platform Architizer featured our Amsterdam Canal House renovation with an interview article, this week. At the request of the owners, the designated state monument has been modernized and made more sustainable. In the interview, Serge Schoemaker talks about the initial concept of the renovation project, the challenges of working with a monument as well as our way of working. Perfect read for the summer break!

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Portrait Serge Schoemaker

News | Serge Schoemaker awarded the Pieter van Vollenhoven Prize

April 24, 2022

On the 22nd of April, architect Serge Schoemaker and theater producer Femme Hammer, the initiators and driving force behind the renovation and reuse of Fort Hoofddorp, were awarded the Pieter van Vollenhoven Prize. The ceremony took place in Fort Hoofddorp and was personally presented by the former chairman of the National Restoration Fund, Pieter van Vollenhoven: “Thanks to these people and to the many people involved who have a passion fo heritage, the monuments of our Kingdom can be preserved.”

Update | Design for single family house in Lijnden approved

March 9, 2022

In the Dutch town of Lijnden, on the outskirts of Amsterdam, we are realising a free standing single family house. Consisting of two interconnected volumes with pitched roofs, the proposed brick house presents a distinct, contemporary character while also searching for continuity with the surrounding residences. While the external form adapts to the scale and architectural language of the context, the overlapping volumes create a surprisingly spacious interior.

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News | Fort Hoofddorp winner of 2021 NRP Golden Phoenix Award

February 10, 2022

Fort Hoofddorp is the winner of the 2021 NRP Golden Phoenix Award in the category Transformation! We are really honoured by this recognition. The annual prize was awarded today in The Hague by Government National Architect Francesco Veenstra: “Fascinating slow architecture at its best. The jury members showed great appreciation for this private initiative which revived this ‘hidden treasure’.”

Read jury rapport

 

Strategic Interventions - Serge Schoemaker Architects

Book release | The Architecture Observer’s ‘Strategic Interventions’

October 30, 2021

Our first book publication, featuring essays from Kirsten Hannema, Hans Ibelings and Jolanthe Kugler, is out! Published by The Architecture Observer and designed by HallerBrun, the book ‘Strategic Interventions’ documents our careful transformation of the nineteenth-century Fort Hoofddorp. The interventions are captured in the photos of MWA Hart Nibbrig. Available for purchase in both Dutch and English.

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News | BNA Honourable Mention for transformation of Fort Hoofddorp

September 16, 2021

Serge Schoemaker’s transformation of Fort Hoofddorp received an Honourable Mention in the ‘BNA Best Building of the Year’ competition. This annual prize celebrates the best architecture in the Netherlands. The 2021 winners were announced today by the jury of the Royal Institute of Dutch Architects (BNA) during a festive ceremony at Het HEM in Amsterdam.

Read jury rapport

Amsterdam Canal House - Serge Schoemaker Architects

Completed | Renovation of a 17th-century Amsterdam Canal House

July 20, 2021

Situated in the heart of the city, this seventeenth-century corner house offers views of two Amsterdam canals. At the request of the owners, the designated state monument has been modernized and made more sustainable. Serge Schoemaker Architects transformed the five-floor home into a new visual composition that enhances the historical qualities of this remarkable building to the full.

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News | Dutch Architecture Yearbook features Fort Hoofddorp

May 26, 2021

For over 30 years ‘Architecture in the Netherlands’ has provided an indispensable overview of Dutch architecture for everyone with a professional or more general interest in the subject. The Yearbook is the international showcase for Dutch architecture. Published by nai010 publishers, the 2020-2021 edition features one of our recent projects: the transformation of Fort Hoofddorp.

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Amsterdam Maisonette -Serge Schoemaker Architects

Completed | Refurbishment of an Amsterdam maisonnette

February 28, 2021

Since the 1990s the former warehouses along the Entrepothaven in Amsterdam have been repurposed for living space. We converted an existing maisonette inside ‘Dinsdag’, a nineteenth-century warehouse, into a comfortable and stylish urban apartment. The result is an oasis of calm in a vibrant residential neighbourhood. A consistently applied palette of colours and materials unites the two floors into a single architectonic composition.

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Fort Hoofddorp - Serge Schoemaker Architects

News | Fort Hoofddorp nominated for Interior of the Year award

September 30, 2020

Fort Hoofddorp has been nominated for the Dutch ‘Interior of the Year 2020’ award by the jury of Architectenweb. The award nomination is a beautiful recognition for all who worked on this transformation project. Jury statement: “The process from the first design up to completion took a decade and did not always go smoothly; the jury has great respect for the tenacity of the architect.”

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Fort Hoofddorp - Serge Schoemaker Architects

News | Fort Hoofddorp nominated for ARC20 Architecture Award

September 15, 2020

Fort Hoofddorp has been nominated for the ARC20 Architecture Award. The fort has been partly restored and partly left untouched. We designed sleek new additions and integrated them carefully, consciously preserving the historical details and distinctive atmosphere. Our approach sets up a lively dialogue between past and present, with both entities enhancing each other.

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Exhibition on Hoofddorp Fort Island by Serge Schoemaker Architects

Exhibition | ‘Contemporary Heritage’ opens at Galerie De Meerse

September 3, 2020

Exhibition ‘Contemporary Heritage’ at Galerie De Meerse in Hoofddorp deals with heritage as chance for the future. The exhibition showcases among other things, photos, models and drawings of Fort Hoofddorp. It is a visual documentation of ten years of work. Organised by Podium voor Architectuur, to be seen until the 30th of October.

Completed | The transformation of Fort Hoofddorp (2010-2020)

May 31, 2020

The process of redeveloping and converting Fort Hoofddorp (1904) took a decade. Some 8,100 m2 in size, the world heritage site has been transformed into an urban park with space for a restaurant as well as cultural and educational activities. Serge Schoemaker Architects tackled the landscape, architecture and interior in an integral manner, fusing past and present into a new entity.

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Alley of Light at LAC Lugano

News | Alley of Light on show at LAC Lugano in Switzerland

November 30, 2019

Alley of Light by Serge Schoemaker Architects & DigiLuce opened at the renown Lugano Arte e Cultura (LAC), today. The LAC art center is one of Switzerland’s most important cultural institutions, dedicated to the visual arts, music and the performing arts. LAC showcases Alley of Light on its front square, Piazza Bernardino Luini, from December 2, 2019 to January 6, 2020.

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Retie Landscape Objects - Serge Schoemaker Architects

Completed | Retie Landscape Objects in Antwerp, Belgium

April 30, 2019

This series of landscape objects in the province of Antwerp is designed to enhance the quality of the walking area around the ‘Grote Gracht’, to the east of the Belgian municipality of Retie. Serge Schoemaker Architects interpreted the rich local agricultural history with a poetic, minimalist design which is at the same time functional in character.

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Hoofddorp Garden Studio - Serge Schoemaker Architect

Completed | Multifunctional garden studio in Hoofddorp

October 25, 2018

With the rise in both land prices and numbers of people working from home, high-quality insulated garden studios have become a big trend. In Hoofddorp, Serge Schoemaker Architects used limited architectural means to design a sleek multifunctional garden studio. The result is a small and versatile structure, in which exterior and interior are one.

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Interior view of Hoofddorp House by Serge Schoemaker Architects

News | Hoofddorp House nominated for Interior of the Year award

October 17, 2018

Our recently completed project Hoofddorp House is nominated for the Dutch ‘Interior of the Year 2018’ award. In renovating this freestanding house in Hoofddorp, Serge Schoemaker Architects gave it a radical metamorphosis, creating a spacious interior full of character, with charming sight lines and plenty of daylight.

Hoofddorp House