Often overlooked, neglected or outright hated, parking structures can be the ideal site for creative design, as architecture practice Royal HaskoningDHV demonstrated in the Katwijk aan Zee underground parking garage in The Netherlands. Commissioned by the Municipality of Katwijk, the parking garage was recently deemed as the 2016 Best Dutch Building of the Year by the Royal Institute of Dutch Architects (BNA) out of 125 submissions. On top of that, the project also won as the People's Choice Award. With Royal HaskoningDHV as design architect and contract supervisor, the winning team included OKRA Landschapsarchitecten (landscape architecture), Adviesburo Snijders (design engineer), and other professional firms.
First opening in February of last year, the parking garage spans over 500 meters and can accommodate 663 cars. The parking structure's distinct underground design also reflects the mission of the Kustwerk Katwijk initiative, which aims to protect the city's coastline.
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“The underground parking is carefully embedded into its natural dune environment so as to respect its surrounding landscape,” stated Royal HaskoningDHV architect Richard van den Brule. “We are very proud that the understated elegance of this building has been recognized and won the BNA Best Dutch Building of the Year 2016.”
The design team took an integrated and multi-disciplinary approach to this project, taking into consideration the need for defensive coastal protection, functional parking requirements, as well as ensuring to create an appropriate landscape design that blends naturally with its coastal environment.
The jury cited the parking garage as an “exceptionally beautiful object” that seamlessly links Katwijk to the sea through its integrated design.
According to the jury, “the meticulous detail of the design is reflected in the robust construction, both above and below ground. The detailed aspects such as lighting, curvature and landscape were complemented by a flawless execution...[It is] a stellar example of what the creative collaboration between engineering and architecture can bring as it harnesses the strengths of the design and engineering prowess to provide an innovative and sustainable solution, conveying its unique sense of place.”
“The underground parking is ground breaking not only because it is an exceptional building, but it also illustrates how the Netherlands have to be innovative in its approach when it comes to protecting our coastline for the future,” stated Jury Chairman Hanneke Groenteman.
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