We all know that the Dutch are experts on reclaiming land from the sea. And with all this new land, come new cities. One of these is Almere, a city founded in 1984, which is growing fast into becoming the fifth largest city in the Netherlands. This growing city is now into the process of consolidating a new center, Olympiakwartier, envisioned on a larger master plan for a sustainable city by Mecanoo.
By 2030, Almere expects to grow into a city with a stronger identity and a total of 350,000 inhabitants, which involves the building of 60,000 new homes and the creation of 100,000 new jobs for the expected 150,000 new inhabitants. For this, Amsterdam based housing association Housing Stadgenoot commissioned MVRDV to be planner for 60,000m2 work space, 120,000m2 housing (1,000 homes), 15,000m2 education, 2,000m2 commercial space, 2,640 parking spaces and various public spaces. This total has been split into 93 volumes of which MVRDV will design 45. The plan demands individual development of the buildings: a dense mix of living and working leading to a complex urban condition. Retail, a public square and communal gardens are also part of the comprehensive plan which introduces inner city life to the mostly suburban typology of Almere. Flexibility is a key objective: All ground floors and part of the office and apartment buildings are designed to facilitate future change of use. In this way the owner, Stadgenoot, can adjust the district more and more to the needs of the growing new town and its inhabitants.
The remaining 48 buildings (500m2 to 5,000m2) are going to be designed by a selected group of 24 international practices, including established and emerging offices (see list after the break).
This project is very ambitious, with the potential of becoming a milestone on urban planning, apart from recent mega projects by groups of architects we have seen lately, which can be very innovative in terms of form or solving individual housing problems, but lack of a clear master plan that make all the individual architect’s efforts act as a whole. It sort of reminds me of the Weissenhof Estate, lets hope this one becomes an example for future architects.
Invited practices include:
- 2012 Architects, Rotterdam, Netherlands
- Atelier Bow Wow, Tokyo, Japan
- Breitman et Breitman, Paris, France
- Baumschlager & Eberle, Lochau, Austria
- BKK-3 Architektur, Vienna, Austria
- Bruno Albert Architecte & Associés, Liège, Belgium
- Charles Vandenhove Architecture Liège, Belgium
- Cobe, Copenhagen, Denmark
- DierendonckBlancke, Gent, Belgium
- Édouard François, Paris, France
- Guallart Architects, Barcelona, Spain
- Herreros, Madrid, Spain
- JDS Architects, Copenhagen, Denmark & Brussels, Belgium
- Jürgen Mayer H., Berlin, Germany
- Krier Kohl Berlin, Germany
- LOT-EK, New York, NY, USA
- Monadnock, Rotterdam, Netherlands
- Onix, Groningen, Netherlands
- Powerhouse Company, Rotterdam, Netherlands
- Sadar Vuga Arhitekti, Ljubljana, Slovenia
- Studio Gang, Chicago, USA
- Urban Think Tank, Caracas, Venezuela
- Van Bergen Kolpa Architecten, Rotterdam, Netherlands
- Yasutaka Yoshimura Architects, Tokyo, Japan