What was once a grey, isolated office location in Amsterdam-West will soon become a green, lively neighbourhood of around 750 homes, thanks to MVRDV’s strategic master plan for a former ING office complex. Located in the Amsterdam Brettenzone, directly to the west of the city’s popular Westerpark, the plan includes 12 buildings, 5 of which are also designed by MVRDV. Placing an emphasis on green space and architectural diversity, the proposal for Westerpark West is a sustainable response to the ever-growing housing demand in Amsterdam.
“Amsterdam urgently needs housing in all sorts of sizes and price ranges, for both purchase and rental,” says Nathalie de Vries, co-founder of MVRDV. “Given the large number of homes that this project adds to Amsterdam-West, we have focused entirely on architectural diversity. The public space will be green and closely connect with the Westerpark. The combination of park and urbanity is unique to Amsterdam. Where else could you live this proximate to a park in the middle of the city?”
The 70,000-square-meter masterplan by MVRDV continues the landscapes of the Westerpark, dividing the elongated area between the Haarlemmervaart and the Brettenpad into five sections of between 90 and 250 dwellings each. This plot structure aligns with the street pattern of the area to the south of the plan, and allows for many green areas, which are favourable for water retention. The landscape of Westerpark West is designed by the London-based Gustafson Porter + Bowman, who in 2003 designed the park around the Westergasfabriek, extending the landscape of the Westerpark to its current boundaries.
Rotterdam-based MVRDV has challenged fellow architects TANK, Blauw, KRFT, Studio Maks, and DoepelStrijkers to design charismatic buildings that work together as a good ensemble. By varying the building typologies and the character of the public space, a striking neighbourhood arises in the middle of the city. The fact that green is an important element in this master plan is clear from the diversity of outdoor spaces, from front gardens and loggias to balcony gardens and roof terraces.
MVRDV itself designed five residential buildings: Blend is a residential building with expressive bay windows that create extra living space and allow for enhanced views, with its combination of bay windows and outdoor space creating a green zone around the building. Salt, part of Salt and Pepper, has a bold overhang towards the city and a reduced footprint, with an irregular pattern on its façade that reflects the diversity of the apartments inside. Westerblok is a transformation of an existing building in the ING office complex that dates back to the 1980s. The building will receive a new green façade and a staggered roofline that creates roof terraces at a variety of heights, all enclosing a courtyard with a wooden façade. The compact residential buildings on the western plot, some of which lean a little in order to open up the space and reveal vistas, have spacious corner apartments with expressive balconies.
MVRDV has developed an innovative energy master plan for Westerpark West, with a combination of district heating and seasonal thermal energy storage. Following the principles of material cycles and the circular economy, the masterplan will transform a number of existing office buildings on the site into comfortable and energy-efficient homes. The project also includes catering, a child day care, and three underground parking garages with charging points and shared cars.
Westerpark-West has been developed in collaboration with HBB Groep, iLINQ, DGMR Adviseurs, Pieters Bouwtechniek Utrecht, DWA, Techniplan Adviseurs and IGG.