GWL-Area

Design: Kees Christiaanse Architecten & Planners (NL)
Year: 1996-1998
Location: Amsterdam, NL

In the centre of Amsterdam an eco-estate is erected on the area of the former Municipal Water Company (Gemeentewaterleidingsbedrijf GWL). The plan consists of approximately 600 homes with a large differentiation on types of homes in the relative high density of 100 homes per hectare.

This plan is built for the foundation Eco-plan, a co-operation of five housing corporations from Amsterdam. The foundation wanted to show that it is also possible to build ecologically in inner city situations in a relatively high density. It is remarkable that the designs of the different homes are made by architectural firms that are known for their architectonic designs and not their ecological concepts. For the client it was important to show that durable building and beautiful architecture can be nicely integrated.

The ecological-ambitions are embodied in three themes: traffic, green and the parcellation structure. These starting points are translated in respectively an auto-free zone with parking facilities on the edge of the estate, integration of the existing plants in the landscape design and a sun-directed allotment.

A high wall of homes protects the area against the western wind and the traffic noise from the nearby road to Haarlem. The remaining homes stand as loose objects in park-like surroundings. Because 60% of the homes in the estate are part of this high wall of homes a relative high density is reached which at the same time makes a wider set-up of the inner area possible. The spaciousness is enhanced more because the area will be kept auto-free. No hardening is favourable for the water economy and creates space for gardens.

Effort has been put into trying to give all homes as much outer space as possible. In two of the designs smart interweaving of homes made it possible to give each home its own entrance on the street and at the same time an outer area in the form of a garden or a roof terrace.

Other environmental measures are for instance; use precipitation for the toilets, sensible building materials, passive sun-energy and good insulation. Besides that the estate is completed with a gas powered warmth-power station, so the energy generation can take place with a high efficiency.

MN

Sources:
 
images by http://www.gwl-terrein.nl/

de Architect, March 1994: Ontwerpen is organiseren (NL)
de Architect, May 1995: GWL-terrein Amsterdam - Alternatief voor de compacte stad (NL)
de Architect, May 1996: GWL-terrein Amsterdam (NL)

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