Suburban Speculation

This masterplan for a suburban settlement outside of Amsterdam was designed as part of a Berlage Institute studio (instructor: Rudy Uytenhaak; project collaborator: Esten Nygaard) in 1993. It departs from the premise that Dutch suburbia is “almost alright”, and that all it needs is evolution, not revolution. The main strategy behind this masterplan is to find programmatic compatibilities between buildings and landscapes, i.e. to double uses of singly-used elements, in order to create efficiencies and reduce monotony. Thus, suburban office buildings typically located on green lawns next to expressways are here sited in a golf course, so that workers can play golf at lunchtime. Similarly, a suburban shopping mall’s parking lot doubles as a drive-in movie theater at night, when stores are closed. Endless rows of rowhouses meet at a linear central business district set along the northern edge of an Olympic-size rowing basin, so that some urbanity lies within walking distance of residences. A commuter train station forms a bridge over the basin, so that passengers can enjoy views of waterscape from the seats of their trains, and those getting off do not get lost quite so easily. By juxtaposing or superimposing elements already existing in Dutch suburbia in new, somewhat unexpected ways, it is hoped this new town would eventually adopt an identity all its own.

SubSpecRegMap

Map showing location of Almere Poort in relation to Amsterdam and Almere

SubSpecMstPlan

Urban masterplan of proposal.

Model view.

Model view.

SubSpecModlCanal

Model view.

SubSpecUnitPlans

Suburban rowhousing typologies

About Rafael Gomez-Moriana

Architect, educator and writer. Partner at ArqEstructura. Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Calgary. Blogger at criticalista.com.

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