The main concept for the design of the project, Pontsteiger Pier, for 225-250 residences with commercial spaces in the ports of Amsterdam, was to choose the concept of the “Mini-City” rather than the “Mega building”. This choice originates from our analysis of the location and the developer’s requirements, combined with the following main points which we find essential for succeeding in this project:
- The building must form a land-mark upon entering the city. It marks the neighborhood and the border between 18th century Amsterdam and the 20th century extension to the river IJ.
- The “mini-city” creates an urban area with mostly low-rise buildings [between 7 and 10 layers], water gardens, a wharf for private boats with wood piers for recreation for the neighboring areas and the occupants. It also protects from the windy climate out in the river IJ.
- In addition to highrises, the plan contains lowrise structures and townhouses. This differentiation is crucial in the realization of an interesting and livable domestic environment and generates several alternatives [house differentiation].
- The port as an organically formed structure has been used as an inspiration source for the urban plan for this mini-city.
To form a differentiated city-model with an organic character, the L-system has been applied. The advantage of this system is that it follows the logic of ‘branching’. In this case, branching seems to be an efficient and innovative method to create the desired differentiation in the housing blocks, which vary from high [2 towers of 60 and 90m] to low [a closed housing-block], to a series of low townhouses on the river. The Branching thus creates a neighborhood with internal protected green courtyards, which connects to the social spaces on the ground floor and the gym ‘bridge’ which connects the volumes on the 4th floor.
Year: Invited competition 2006
Location: Houthaven Pier, Amsterdam
Project Type: Mixed use development w/ 250 residences and commercial spaces including retail boardwalks, public dining terraces, communal water gardens and private boat docks
Size: 453,000 sq ft
Design Team: Principal in charge: Winka Dubbeldam, Assoc. AIA | Project Leader: Ana Sotrel
Consultants: Structural and Mechanical Engineers: ABT Engineers
Architect of Record: HM Architecten