Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA)
Dienst Volkshuisvesting Gemeente Amsterdam
Bus 38-38-105-109; IJpleinveer
Koos Bosma, 'De architect die de leegte bouwde. OMA's stedebouwkundige concepten binnen het krachtenspel van de verstedelijking', Archis no. 3/1989, p. 46-52.
Openbare ruimte, Wonen

Urban plan for a housing estate on a former shipbuilding site

Closure of the shipyard on the banks of the IJ waterway freed up the land for a new housing development in North Amsterdam. OMA, the firm of Rem Koolhaas, was charged with the task of producing an urban plan. The firm produced an open, transparent scheme in which as many residents as possible would be able to enjoy a view of the IJ.

For the site layout, OMA adopted parcelling principles similar to those employed in the heyday of the Modern movement, for example in plans by Le Corbusier, E. May, L.K. Hilbersheimer and J. Duiker. Extracting these from their historical context and ‘reassembling’ them produced new parcelling principles.

In the new housing estate, two parcelling principles are applied alongside each other, separated by a central green zone. The western section has a checkerboard layout which is filled in with separate blocks and slabs. The eastern section consists of parallel strips of low rise alternating with strips of greenery. The regularity of the plan is disrupted by diagonal streets and a triangular plaza. The use of urban villas made it possible to reach the desired transparency in combination with the requisite housing density. OMA set the guidelines for the architectural infill (such as the colour of facade areas), which was to some extent in the hands of other firms such as Hein van der Meer, De Kat & Peek, Peeters & Bogaerts and CASA. Besides the urban plan, OMA was responsible for a significant proportion of the public space design and the choice of vegetation, which was required to harmonize with the pastel-coloured stucco of the facades. (ARCAM/BU)