It is seldom in our western cities that an architect has the possibility of implementing his ideas without resistance. The structures in which political decision-making is embedded and the committees which assume the role of the client are all geared towards compromise. In Amsterdam we were confronted with a more or less fixed master plan, the motif of which was the intensity of large discrete buildings on the waterfront; the site was a former dockland. Gradually, the existing rectangular plan form of the block, measuring 170 x 60 metres and including a circular courtyard, underwent a morphological transformation: an existing residential building had to be incorporated into the scheme and asymmetrical chunks were cut out of the block. The aim to provide the side of the building with daylight and a view led to the side wing being made to recede further. Then the wish of the future residents for remains of the former dockland park to be preserved hat to be respected and the block was opened up on the first four floors of the relevant side. Finally, the contradiciton between courtyard building and a waterfront site had to be resolved: the front of the block facing the water was pushed in so as to let sunlight from the south into the courtyard and to give the people with flats facing onto the courtyard a view of the water. Later, a wedge-shaped cut had to be made in another corner of the block in order to create a passageway between the new block and the neighbouring building. The obligation to provide a range of different types of flats caused a further deformation of the upper storeys: cantilever glazed access galleries run along one side of the north facade while on the other side two-storey high galleries have been hollowed out of the volume of the building.