Westergasfabriek


 
Pazzanistraat 37
Stadsdeel West
Amsterdam
Isaac Gosschalk, renovatie: Braaksma & Roos architecten
Imperial Continental Gas Association / Westergasfabriek
tram 3, bus 18, 21, 22, halte Haarlemmerplein + 5 min lopen
1885, 2007
Bedrijven, Cultuur, Groen, Kantoren, Leisure, Openbare ruimte, Voorziening

Cultural hotspot

The former factory complex, built in 1885, has in recent decades developed into a cultural hotspot. The redevelopment of Westerpark, which was completed in 2003, to a design by Kathryn Gustafson, has significantly contributed to the vibrancy of the area.

The former gasworks Westergasfabriek used to produce gas from coal, which was used mainly for public lighting. On the site were several gasholders, coal storage facilities, purification plants and office buildings, which were grouped in a U shape around an imposing water tower. Most of the buildings were originally designed in neo-Renaissance style by the architect Isaac Gosschalk. The purification building, where sulphur was extracted from the gas, stands parallel to Haarlemmertrekvaart and comprises two elongated halls, on either side of which are smaller spaces. The symmetrical layout of the elevations, with tall, narrow windows, gives the building a Romanesque touch.

When in the sixties, natural gas was discovered in Slochteren, Westergasfabriek gradually lost its function. A number of buildings, including the water tower, the heavily polluted furnace buildings and the laboratory building, were demolished. The buildings that remained – including the engine room, the purification plant, the boiler house and the largest gasholder – all now have national listed status. The renovation of the monumental factory buildings, in which the original character has been preserved, is now complete. They now house creative and cultural entrepreneurs. The redeveloped Westerpark interweaves between the buildings and covers more than fourteen hectares. The idea behind the concept for the park design is ‘changement’, change. The park design shows how the relationship between man and nature has changed over the years. The plan’s backbone is the central axis, which connects various recreational elements. A second connecting route is the diagonal ‘Broadway’, which is surrounded by woodland. On the north side of the park is a large events field. Westergasfabriek Culture Park is the venue for various festivals, conferences and cultural happenings such as Picnic, Holland Festival and the Amsterdam International Fashion Week. (ARCAM/FG)