The urban-design plan will transform the old site of the Oostergasfabriek in Amsterdam into an attractive centre for the borough of Oost/Watergraafsmeer, with a combination of housing, work, a large shopping cluster, sport facilities, a community school, cultural amenities and a new borough office. The former industrial site is wedged between the ring canal and the railway, and is situated on a dead-end route, right behind a shopping street (the Linnaeusstraat).
The brief called for finding ways to tempt the public to enter this hidden zone as deeply as possible from the existing shopping street. Therefore a great deal of attention was devoted not only to as appealing an array of amenities as possible, but also to the right positioning of crowd-pullers and to a varied spatial experience. Sightlines were created from the Linnaeusstraat to the important places and buildings in the area. For example, a plaza was laid out along the water, right at the bend of the ring canal, and all the conspicuous buildings situated around it, like the borough offices. From the Linnaeusstraat bridge you see this welcoming plaza and the buildings prominently situated. Conversely, people in the plaza can look along the length of the water toward the Linnaeusstraat.
The principles of ‘serial vision’ and ‘provisional closure’ were applied to create an area in which visitors and users can wander and be constantly surprised. Streets and squares alternate; a different picture is created every 50 metres. The shopping streets are narrow (eight metres), as in a medieval urban fabric, so that the proximity of the street walls becomes palpable.
An important feature of the plan is that the shopping public can follow a circular route rather than an identical journey to and fro. The large shopping and residential block in the middle has been designed so that people can go around it. The parking garage under this building is situated so that visitors coming out of it automatically follow the complete shopping route.
Although the Polderwerg area consists mainly of new-build structures, the remaining industrial buildings of the Oostergasfabriek gas plant will play an important role, especially at its edges. Some of the old plant buildings will be retained and given new functions; for others, only the ‘footprint’ will be retained. For instance, the large purification buildings have been demolished, but their front and side facades have been reconstructed and re-introduced in the new construction. The circular foot of the gas reservoir forms the foundation for a new round residential building.
[A] Sjoerd Soeters
[P] Houses, shops & parking garage
[G] 22,104 m2
[C] Ontwikkelings Combinatie Polderweggebied VOF