AA are mixing up the Zeeburgerpad
A narrow strip of land in the centre of Amsterdam, appropriately named the Zeeburgerpad, is beginning a transformation away from its current single use function. Allard Architecture have been asked to investigate and design a proposal for a series of (three) mixed use buildings totalling more than 10,000 sq m (excluding parking) to integrate work, studio and living space into this seemingly isolated strip of land.
Part of the process to achieve this goal involved making a request to amend the city of Amsterdam’s zoning plan which Allard Architecture initiated together with their client. This formal written proposal aims to adapt the urban structure of the city in which building height and function are dictated, to enable the Zeeburgerpad to become a vibrant urban living, working and recreational environment.
Interpreting this strip from a larger scale, the Zeeburgerpad is perceived and located through its attachment to the city on its western point. Running on an east, west axis this tongue-like piece of land is anchored by a large windmill that acts as a strong marker and point of reference for the surrounding area. Acknowledging this significant structure, the massing of the building on the most western, adjacent site is designed to flip its axis by 90 degrees to run in parallel with the strip of land and create an opening gesture to the windmill and city beyond.
The opening up of the western building to the city appropriately responds to the orientation and site setting. A restaurant and bar are set into the quayside, giving a water level view out over the adjacent canal where unobstructed evening sun shines down the clear urban axis. Above this is a proposed exhibition space for an institution that encourages public interaction and integration. Alongside this lies extruded volumes with glazed tips that will glow from within at night, creating a responsive edge to the Zeeburgerpad.
The other sites of the Zeeburgerpad scheme are surrounded by existing industrial units and have required a design strategy that is not only able to provide work, studio and living spaces, but will also allow future redevelopment of the remaining industrial interlocking sites. Allard Architecture have developed a responsive strategy to the brief whereby new maisonette housing typologies remain on the urban grid to meet this strict criteria, whilst voids and courtyards are introduced to allow private sunlit external spaces for every unit. Within the roof structure low embodied energy materials are used as solar collectors providing low consumption heating solutions for the buildings.