Amsterdam North is a city district going through a major transformation. Urban Matter developed the concept for a mixed use development on the northern bank of the river IJ as part of this transformation process. We approached this 3,2 ha site, surrounded by water by recognizing its prominent role in rebuilding the river frontier and the North River walkway.
Adaptivity within the master plan is crucial for long term success. To be able to realize a mixed residential and office program for the main buildings the Urban Lofts typology was developed. These hybrid blocks were optimized to be able to host different programs during the phased development without compromising the master plan design and the quality of its public space.
One of the biggest challenges was to achieve high density while preserving the spatial transparencies to the scenery surrounding the project site and away from the water. Making Urban Lofts into compact blocks they were positioned in a way that allows visual connections across the area. This high density is compensated by its eco friendly qualities, the mixed use facilities and foremost its proximity to the water and scenic open space of the river environment.
Research into the history of this part of the northern river bank resulted in a series of buildings that celebrate the ship making and early industrial character of this 19th century harbor. Raw brick volumes as they appear within its given 30m height limitation. Orientation from the inside out of all the residences was optimized to ensure daylight conditions and great views on the water.
The public space is designed to be an extension of the harbor experience with its views toward the open water. It was envisioned as being a vast continuous wooden deck that in a stepwise condition drops down to meet the river. Alongside the water edge the North River walkway comes to an end on the pier that is accessible from the main square.
Cars are allocated under the deck. To ensure natural ventilation and light for the parking the deck has openings with tree clusters growing through. In the overall picture the green of the landscape is complemented by the shimmering of the water.
Name: Urban Lofts - Mixed Use Development in Amsterdam
Team: Alexander Chemyakin at OIII architecten with Jan Frederik Gross, Maarten Sanders
Program: apartments, offices, horeca and commercial space on the ground level
Site area: 3,2 ha
Construction Area: total 48.000 m2
Location: Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Project year: 2006
Client: Heijmans B.V.
Photographs and images: Urban Matter / OIII architecten