I’ve noticed another common shape in my negotiations of Amsterdam — the tall triangle.

Tall Triangle

The tall triangle appears mostly in the “inner suburbs” of Amsterdam, that is, the residential areas outside of the 17th Century Canal Belt. You will see the tall Triangle in neighbourhoods characterized by the “Amsterdam School” of design and architecture.

The Amsterdam School is the Dutch contribution to the broader movement of Art Nouveau in France and Modernisme in Catalonia. It at once embraces modern lines, repetitions and scales, while being nostalgic, whimsical and at a human scale.

amsterdam school 2

amsterdam school1

amsterdam school 3


Amsterdam-school architecture is defined by bulking forms, embedded sculptures, unconventional patterns of fenestration leaving distinct negative space, and the use of unusual, often narrow shapes for windows and ornamentation. Enter the tall triangle.

3D Tall triangle

One of my favourite uses of the tall triangle is not in the formal, massive structures of the Amsterdam school of Architecture. I like its use in the more temporary form of a playground slide. These narrow, tall, triangular slides are peppered throughout Amsterdam, and every time I see one my heart sinks with whimsy.