The Prinses Amaliaplein square is a green space located at the northern side of Zuid square and the train Station Zuid WTC. It take place in the Minerva axis, an urbanistic axis from the Plan Zuid by Berlage. In this location comes two totally different “world” togheter. From one side Prinses Irene neighborhood, a residential area with low buildings and villas made in the 50s and on the other side Zuidas, with high buildings and skyscrapers that accommodate international companies. The needs and wishes of this two area are different, from a park-like where the children can play to a representative place where people can sit togheter and have lunch.
The core task was to realize a place where those different functions can come togheter. The result of the design process was founded in the idea of “Animals in the Forest”, multifunctional natural stone objects with a sleek identity that are visually connected, surrounded by green. The abstract shape of the animals stimulates the imagination of children with different figures and prevents them to get bored and invites users to sit, climb and slide on top but also lie down and doing some sport activity.
The “bird” create a football field (not regulated) with a small tribune on the side; this place is also used as a lunch spot because of the nice sunny location. The neck of the bird lie on the water feature in a form of stepping stones and in the middle, through a steamy-water jets, the experience it’s even more exciting.
The “snake” has a raw side where young children can climb until is transitioning to a smooth surface that allow people to sit confortably with a back-sit or chill in a lounge portion.
The “crocodile” is the elevated element and his paws stands in a sandbox. The shape of this animal can be rocognized for example as the bridge of a castle or a wall between two worlds. This element is a perfect place where children can experience the fun of using a playground object by being on top, under, in it and around it.
The “otter” is a very low sitting element close by a solitary tree that can be used for climbing; this animal gives accent to the old Zuid axis since sit exactly in the middle of it.
The two animals on the west side of the square, near the entrance of Freshfields building, appears as “moles” with a sitting function.
A “deeper” design layer is defined by rainproof aspect. The football field created by the bird, is a water storage system in case of hard rain burst as well as half of the surface of the water-bound path surface (half-paving). Most of the drainage stystem of all paths and bicycle path of the square are orientated towards the 500 m long infiltration strip that is located along the south side of Prinses Irenestraat. This other project will be delivered in phases, aside Prinses Amaliaplein square is not yet been made and instead has been laid a temporary planting bed until the Strawinsky house building will be completely redeveloped.
Under the square was realized a bicycle storage that can accomodate 3750 bikes.The bike-garage is accessible by a tapis roulant on one side of the square and by pedestrian only from a staircase located under the Viaduct Strawinskylaan to connect easily the storage with the train station. The garage ceiling package is located under amore or less one and a half meter distance from the level of the square; this space allowed the design to accommodate big size trees.
The design process was made with an intensive public participation with the results of an underground bike-garage, a playground and a place where to relax. Those main achievement were very important for the users in the area and at the same time another important ingredient was the presence of vegetation in the project. During the design was paid attention to types and location of every individual trees, from two type of oak (Quercus coccinea and Quercus phellos) and two type of birch (Betula nigra “Heritage” and Betula pendula) to a cherry tree (Prunus serrulata “Kanzan”).
The two oaks and birches gives colour-leaves accent in the autumn, then in winter the leaves of one oak stays longer on and togheter with the barks of the trees create a colour shades. In spring, flowers of the cherry trees make pink splashs on the square and in the summer the whole square is filled with a green roof with few opening that create sunny spots under the green canopy.
The seventy trees were chosen to be multi or singular trunks and the size was also chosen to be different, to maintain a naturalistic atmosphere as a “city-like forest”. The undergrowth layer is mainly grass with a blue and white colour accent in early spring generated by the presence of bulbs. This flowers areas are displayed in spots so the people could use the lawn to relax, do yoga and have lunch-breaks.
Design: Alessandro Solci, Chris van Gent
Project Location: Zuidas, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Typology: Public space plan design, square, underground bicycle storage
Year of design: 2014-2018
Area: 0,6 hectare
Planting experts: Ton Muller, Ruben van der Giessen
Architect for the Underground bicycle storage: Wurck
Client: Municipality of Amsterdam