A BREAKOUT DESIGN
12 Oct 2017
Originally built in the 1970s, a disused prison complex in Amsterdam will be redeveloped into a pedestrian-friendly community facility with a range of mixed-use programs and a focus on recycling and reuse.
The former Bijlmerbajes in Amsterdam, a prison complex in the South-East of the city built, will become a car-free, mixed-use district, based on plans by a collaboration of architects - OMA, FABRICations Architects and LOLA Landscape.
The new masterplan encompasses the redevelopment of the 7.5-hectare site, including a design for a significant portion of the 135,000 square metre prison building. The original masterplan for the prison complex included six linked towers and a series of courtyards and separate gardens. In the new masterplan, the contained nature of the island will be maintained, with a series of pedestrian and cycle bridges providing new connection points to and across the site.
The Bajes Kwartier (Dutch for Jail Quarter), will be a car-free zone that provides gardens and recreation spaces for residents of and visitors to the neighbourhood. In addition to affordable and luxury apartments, a vertical park and farm, arts and health centres, a school and restaurants will be a part of the development.
As the focus on community, recycling and reuse is an important part of the project, the goal of the expansion of the site will be to find a new purpose for 98 percent of the existing building materials. Current structures on the site will be updated to become energy-neutral – a mix of wind, solar and compost systems. To encourage a care-free zone, prodigious pedestrian and bike paths linked by bridges will be created.
In committing to the reuse of building materials for the project, prefab elements from the existing structures will be used for cladding for the new residential buildings. Prison bars will be reused to create balustrades, and cell doors will become panels for the plethora of new pedestrian bridges.
A landmark on the edges of Amsterdam since the 70s, the Bijlmerbajes has, due to urban expansion, become central to Amsterdam’s urban development. Its geographic influence in the city makes it the perfect precinct to develop into a vibrant civic and cultural space.
Construction of the new Bajes Kwartier development is set to begin in early 2018.
Images via OMA