De Centrale

The transformation of a former telephone exchange to micro apartments


Our vision

Back in 2001, the KPN Centrale was the first building to be constructed on Amsterdam’s new IJburg development and it served as the central hub to meet the ever-increasing communication needs of the IJburg development. Technological advancements since, however, mean that what then occupied some 3,000m2 now only needs 18 m2! We identified an opportunity to transform the building’s empty shell into serviced apartments that target the expat market. We were aiming for an urban look and feel, more along the lines of a boutique hotel, rather than run-of-the-mill apartments served by a standard corridor.


The individual apartments are each centred around a utility hub, comprising a pantry, bathroom, technical installations and storage area. While modestly sized, the apartments will be flooded with daylight and on sunny days their sliding windows will make the living area seem more like an outdoor gallery. A communal atrium and roof terraces will give guests extra space to work in or meet up. By transforming the stoned pavement in front of De Centrale into a small but sunny pocket park, the building has been cleverly assimilated with its surroundings. Maisonette apartments on the ground floor can be accessed directly from the pocket park.

Central void | space to meet

Sliding windows provide for max outdoor relation

Corner apartment

Standard apartment

Ground floor

First floor

Client Midvast

Programme Residential, 76 Micro Apartments

Team Alvaro Alcain
Rene Berbee
Jon Eseverri
Martijn Floris
Maddalen Miner
Volker Ulrich

Size 4,000 m²

Year 2017 – 2021

Collaborators Van Rossum

Status Final Design

Architect VURB architects

Image credits VURB Architects
Dok Architecten

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