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wv-studio: Bischoff Hengelo

Prinsengracht Amsterdam

Refurbishment of a monumental canal house
Status: completion
Year: 2017
Program: Refurbishment
Gross floor area: 100 m2 apartment
Location: Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Stairs Prinsengracht

This monumental canal house at the Prinsengracht in Amsterdam has many of its original features still intact.

Most houses in the "canal belt" of the historic centre of Amsterdam have a lifting mechanism to hoist heavy goods to the upper floors. For many years regulation demanded such a device for houses in Amsterdam. When a historic lifting beam and wheel are present they are usually listed as cultural heritage and should be left untouched. 

In this house the lifting machanism was in tact and hidden away in a storage area of the house.

As part of this refurbishment the mechanism was restored and a visual connection was made from the floor below so the mechanism could be on display.


The top floors are used by the children of the family. To allow for a safe connection between the top two floors a new, safer staircase was introduced. Around this staircase a communal play area was created which also connects all the different rooms.

Stairs Prinsengracht

The two rooms at the garden side are used by two sisters who asked for a connection between the two rooms. A door, small enough so only children will fit through, was designed to be a puppet theatre on one side and a little shop on the other. 

The bathrooms were designed to make a connection with history by using colours and graphics of old Royal Delft Blue tiles that are present elsewhere in the house. The colour blue was used in the floor and the fixtures of the new bathrooms.

Bathroom Prinsengracht

Two illustrations were taken from existing, historic Royal Delft Blue tiles, magnified and made into a mosaic floor for the bathrooms.

Bathrooms Prinsengracht
Hijsrad Prinsengracht

The mechanism that was previously hidden away in a storage area of the house was revealed by opening up part of the floor to the storey below. This created a double height guestroom with one of the most interesting historic features of the house on display.


Close-up hijsrad
Stair Prinsengracht_edited.jpg
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