Pavilion Puur

Overdiemerweg 37
Emma Architecten
Stadsherstel NV, Amsterdam

Hidden amongst the greenery on Diemerzeedijk, close to Diemen and opposite IJburg’s easternmost point, is the pavilion Puur. The recently completed building stands in the grounds of Fort Diemerdam, which forms part of the ‘Stelling van Amsterdam’. This former line of defensive works was built around Amsterdam between 1880 and 1914 and consists of dikes, locks, ammunition depots and forty-six forts and is now on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

The organization Stadsherstel, owner of Fort Diemerdam since 2006, commissioned Emma Architects to redevelop the site. Fort Diemerdam has been transformed and now has a new future as a cultural attraction, where information about the history of the area is provided for visitors and where cultural events are held.

The combination of the old and the new was central to the design. The so-called ‘kringenwet’ used to apply in the grounds of the fort. This law prescribed that all buildings within the artillery’s field of fire had to be made of wood. The attacking enemy would not be able to hide in the wooden structures, as they could quite easily be destroyed. A stone plinth course, with a maximum height of 60 centimetres, was allowed because of the watery conditions. Wood would not have lasted long in the marshy ground.

The new design also takes account of this ‘kringenwet’. A new structure with a deep stone basement stands on the precise spot where previously the soldiers’ barracks had stood. Around it is a wooden wall that follows the contours of the surrounding landscape. The wall has an insulating layer of flax and consists of 40,000 cedar wood shingles. The flowing lines of the walls and glazed openings allude to the elevations, inclines and curves of the bulwark, behind which the men and artillery were concealed. The interior can be adapted for each event and can accommodate 150 visitors. (Arcam)