karres+brands: The Arena Boulevard and the Amsterdamse Poort will together be developed into Amsterdam’s second nightlife district. The current central area has two different faces: the busy, small-scale Amsterdamse Poort shopping centre and the spacious but often empty Arena Boulevard. The buildings, in which major functions are accommodated behind a small number of entrances, accentuate the impersonal character of the area. The Arena Boulevard is everything that historic city centres are not. The emphasis in the design for the Arena Boulevard is on breaking up its linear character, and creating a space that is pleasant for a group of ten people, but also for a crowd of fifty thousand.
Transverse connections between the north and south side are enhanced by creating space between the buildings on the boulevard. In the design the public space organizes itself in a natural way. Long benches of natural stone and wood mark the transition between places for movement and places to pause. Alongside these benches the ground level rises up or falls away, giving a slightly curved paved surface. Some points are laid out for sports use, others are raised up, with trees and grass creating places to relax. A public space is created that invites a longer stay and offers opportunities for various kinds of use.
A three-dimensional lighting web of cables and spotlights creates a dramatic ‘starry sky’ above the Arena Boulevard. A key points the web becomes denser and the light brighter. This dynamic lighting reacts to events and flows of pedestrians in the location.
Landscape Architecture: karres+brands
Client: Amsterdam City Council Development Corporation
Location: Amsterdam South East, The Netherlands
Area: 4.2 hectares
Budget: € 12,300,000
Design: 2005 – 2006
Construction: 2007 – 2008
Team: Bart Brands, Joost de Natris, Jeroen Marseille, Paul Portheine, Jan-Martijn Eekhof, Daniela Hake, Katarina Brandt, Monika Popczyk
Lighting design in partnership with ARUP Lighting
Text and photos: Karres en Brands