GWL-Terrein Amsterdam [NL]

An environmentally friendly and car-free residential area has been realised on the former site of the municipal drinking-water company (GWL) in Amsterdam. Owing to its strong cohesion and high density, the GWL site presents itself as a single, large-scale urban element in its surroundings. At the same time it is an open zone with residential blocks in the midst of greenery, an oasis of calm in the metropolitan chaos. The GWL site marks the boundary between the traditional housing blocks of the Staatslieden neighbourhood and the businesses and industry to the west. Several historic buildings including a water tower were retained, and these now form the eye-catching heart of the neighbourhood.

The site has a density of 100 dwellings per hectare and includes communal housing, live/work dwellings, a community centre and other amenities. On its western and northern sides, the site is enclosed by a meandering residential block that climbs from four storeys in the south to nine in the north-east. This elongated block contains approximately 57 % of the dwellings and forms the boundary between the business activities and the residential area; it also protects the site from the westerly wind and from the noise of the Haarlemmerweg trunk road. Together, the 14 blocks of four to five storeys form a park-like setting, standing on green islands of private gardens surrounded by hedges.

Client Ecoplan Foundation, Amsterdam
Program 
6 ha urban plan for an ecological neighbourhood with 29.000 m2 for 600 residential units, integration of historical buildings, elaboration of three buildings
Time 
1993 - 1998
Role Masterplanner, supervisor and architect of 3 residential blocks
Participating parties 
DKV Architecten, Rotterdam, Neutelings Riedijk architecten, Rotterdam, Meyer & Van Schooten, Amsterdam, Zeinstra van der Pol, Amsterdam, West 8, Rotterdam (landsape)