Eastern Docklands, Amsterdam
Concierge.com's insider take:
Amsterdam contains one of Europe's highest concentrations of exciting modern architecture, and the hottest hotbed is in the eastern harbor, where more than 8,000 homes were built in the 1980s and 1990s by innovative architects like Hans Kollhoff of the DaimlerChrysler headquarters on Berlin's Potsdamer Platz. The area is now home to families and professionals, and is a favorite haunt of packs of curious, bespectacled architects. Design highlights include residential "super blocks": Look for the dark facade and irregular shape (determined by the shipping warehouse that previously occupied the site) of austere Piraeus on KNSM island (by Kollhoff/Christian Rapp) and the sloping roofline of zinc-clad De Walvis—appropriately named "the Whale"—on Sporenburg (by Frits van Dongen/Architecten Cie). Equally one-of-a-kind are the single-family houses along Scheepstimmermansstraat—individually designed by the owners, they make up a fascinating architectural collage that's best seen from Borneo Island. The Stedelijk Museum's temporary location in the former TPG post office tower a few minutes' walk east of Centraal Station makes for a good gateway to the area. Check with the Amsterdam Centre for Architecture for information on other landmarks and to purchase self-guided tours (600 Prins Hendrikkade; 31-20-620-4878; www.arcam.nl).