"White window frames are part of the Dutch tradition"
Architect Sjoerd Soeters designs buildings, among which the town hall in Zaanstad. He’s also in charge of the designs of new suburbs.
What’s your stance on the Dutch Vinex-neighbourhoods?
‘Viable Vinex-neighbourhoods have a lot of space, are bright and are easy to reach. They’re in harmony with the landscape. Vinex-neighbourhoods strive to a strong sense of ‘it’s my place’. There are approximately 35 houses per hectare in Vinex-neighbourhoods. That’s very dense. Most of the houses don’t have big yards either, and there’s barely any space for expansion.’
A lot of Vinex-neighbourhoods have exuberant colors. What do you think about that?
‘You can’t make something look nicer by just coloring it. This is a huge misunderstanding. More important is the harmony with the environment in colors and materials. Tonal colors are usually pretty, that way the support each other.’
Can you name an example successful colored building?
‘A great example would be the Amsterdam Java island. The houses are all different from one another, but when it comes to colors and materials, they belong together. I think it’s important that a building or neighbourhood carries the color and architecture that are typical for the area.’
Which colors do you often use?
‘For floors I mostly choose yellow. They give a sense of warmth and is associated with sand. I keep interiors quite neutral, only here and there a colored touch. For window frames both inside and outside, I always use white. Dark colors are less suitable, I think. Darkness attracts warmth causing the wood to dry out much more quickly than when using white. White also fits with the Dutch tradition. Our white window frames are simply beautiful.’