Extension Westerkeersluis control point

Van Diemenstraat/Houtmankade
LUX Architecten (nu ZICHT en ZILT architecten)
Dienst Infrastructuur Verkeer en Vervoer (DIVV) en Binnenwater Beheer Amsterdam (BBA)
Bus 22, halte Houtmankade; tram 3, halte Zoutkeetsgracht

Control building on basalt embankment

At the point where Amsterdam’s most important inland shipping route, Westerkanaal, joins the IJ is a bridge and lock complex. This ‘Westerkeersluis’ is operated from a control building on the quay wall, which has been constructed to replace an obsolete building built in the sixties. Sight lines, height restrictions, daylighting and spatial requirements have determined the building’s form.

The building has a wedge-shaped floor plan, with the obtuse end pointing towards the bridge. There are three storeys; the top storey, which functions as the control area and meeting space, cantilevers out over the water. The lower storeys, which are below the level of the quay, contain toilets, technical spaces and storage areas. The unrestricted view called for in the brief has resulted in an umbrella construction with a steel core that supports the roof. Below this, between the wide cornice and a high spandrel panel, are strip windows, which provide a panoramic view. At the entrance, on the building’s southeast side, an overhang has been created with the cornice line, which varies in height.

The spandrel here and on the west side is angled downwards, allowing stairs to be created which form an organic part of the architecture and contribute to the sculptural character of the building. The soft green colour of the elevations refers to shipping and makes this small building a surprising eye-catcher at a junction of road and water. (ARCAM/BU)