The five plans which have been nominated by the jury of the Ymere NAI idea competition 2009, are announced in New York. This yearâ€™s competition, â€˜Open Fort 400â€™, which is jointly organized by the Ymere Housing Corporation and the Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAI) in close collaboration with the Amsterdam Local Authority, asked designers to think about an open fort as the impulse for the further social, cultural and economic development of the area from the end of the Grasweg to the River IJ in North Amsterdam. In November, the jury will select two of the five nominated plans and a general public will choose the winning design. The nominated plans will be on display in De Zuiderkerk in Amsterdam from December. The winning plan will be considered for implementation.
- Buiksloterham Unzipped by Matteo Kuijpers with Takeshi Mukai and Maartje Nuy;
- Fort X by XML, David Mulder - Van der Vegt and Max Cohen de Lara;
- Frame Design Centre by Elastik and Mat Studio, Igor Kebel and Eriko Watanabe, Mika Cimolini and Freek Dech;
- Hal 400 by Merijn Muller and Rosie van der Schans, and finally
- New York 5 by Stereo Architects, Finbarr McComb and Pieter Sprangers.
Open Fort 400
The source of inspiration for this edition of the competition is the 400th anniversary of the relation between Amsterdam and New York. The pioneers from Amsterdam who built Fort Amsterdam four hundred years ago laid the foundation for the modern form of urban life in New York today, and the large-scale redevelopment of the docklands in North Amsterdam invites comparison with the pioneers of that time. Can a new building on the bank of the River IJ be as much of a catalyst as Fort Amsterdam was then? And how can it protect the city folk and at the same time form a powerful landmark for visitors from outside?
These questions occupy the independent expert jury chaired by the architect and former Government Chief Architect Mels Crouwel. As the jury report states, the competition is unusual because it explicitly asks entrants to link a vision of the cultural ambitions for the development of a striking piece of Amsterdam with a specific design for a building and public space. The jury consists of Ronald Rietveld, landscape architect and winner of the Prix de Rome 2006, Thijs Asselbergs, author of the urban development plan for the area at the end of the Grasweg, Saskia Bos, director of the Cooper Union School of Fine Arts, Russell Shorto, contributor to The New York Times, NRC Handelsblad and other media and director of the John Adams Institute in Amsterdam, and Pieter Klomp, senior project manager of the Town Planning Department of the Amsterdam Local Authority.
In reaching its verdict, the jury took into account the following criteria that had been determined beforehand:
- the way in which the assignment is converted into a convincing plan
- the extent to which the plan meets the catalyst function of the area
- the extent to which the plan contains an inspiring and realistic vision
- the contribution of the plan to the experience of the immediate surroundings
The jury on the five nominated plans:
Open Fort 400 Finalist: Buiksloterham Unzipped by Matteo Kuijpers with Takeshi Mukai and Maartje Nuy, Source: Matteo Kuipers
This project ties in well with the already existing activities in North Amsterdam, namely a combination of housing and industry. The plan does not offer a clearly defined programme, but provides instead opportunities for the community to design the environment they live and work in, allowing a measure of flexibility.
Open Fort 400 Finalist: Fort X by XML, David Mulder - Van der Vegt and Max Cohen de Lara, Source: XML
The unusual encounter between the wavy lower side of the opening to the building and the surface of the River IJ is one of the greatest qualities of this proposal. Architecture and landscape meet here. According to the environmental planning limiting conditions, however, heavy shipping does not allow building close to the water. It is therefore debatable whether the picture presented of Fort X will retain its strength when it is set back on the location within the original limits.
Frame Design Centre
Open Fort 400 Finalist: Frame Design Centre by Elastik and Mat Studio, Igor Kebel and Eriko Watanabe, Mika Cimolini and Freek Dech, Source: Elastik en Mat Studio
The building fits perfectly into the given environmental planning envelope and is in compliance with the building lines and maximal heights. A lot of attention has been paid to the architectural elaboration of this plan and the project is well presented. The building, characterised by a striking red underground passage, houses a design institute.
Open Fort 400 Finalist: Hal 400 by Merijn Muller and Rosie van der Schans, Source: Merijn Muller (project architect)
The simplicity of the plan and the informal atmosphere suggested by the roofed square appeal to the jury, which considers the interpretation of the Open Fort theme as buildings around an open space where a new world can arise a bright idea. The question is whether the suggestion of the light dimensions of the roof can stand up to the considerable wind pressure.
New York 5
Open Fort 400 Finalist: New York 5 by Stereo Architects, Finbarr McComb and Pieter Sprangers, Source: Stereo Architects
The whole recalls the conceptual dome of Buckminster Fuller, as well as the miniature buildings in Madurodam model village. The proposal has a certain kitsch quality, but it does offer interesting perspectives for a meeting place with metropolitan allure, all the more because the submission proposes to house a UNESCO main building here.
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