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Design of parking garage Buiksloterham finished

XVW architectuur has finished the design of the first of two car parks in Buiksloterham, Amsterdam North. This project allowed us to work on a new type of building, until now uncommon to high density urban deveopments in the Netherlands: an above ground parking solution. In earlier developments the necessary parking was put underground. In Builsoterham this was not feasable and/or affordable: the area will be developed step by step with small apartment buildings as well as individual houses. Thus, in an organic way, a new piece of Amsterdam will arise. Large scale (collective) underground parking garages are incompatible with this type of development. In order to solve parking, two collective parking garages are planned. This creates a new task for Dutch urban practice: how do we make such garages an integral part of a housing environment?

In order to tackle this question we have to deal with the elephant in the room: car parks have by default a negative impact on their immediate environment, they are perceived as a necessary evil in the city. Above all, the stack of motionless metal quickly becomes a ‘hole’ in a vibrant urban environment. How to handle this?

In two ways, the impact on and connection with the city is shaped. At the street level, at eye level, in the immediate proximity of residents and passers by, the garage has been lifted to accommodate business premises and spacious glass entrances to the stairwells. The ground floor is transparent. The closed parts of the fa├žade are clad in a tactile material: wood. Above this transparant plinth, the volume of parking spaces is encased with a glistening, faceted surface that is inspired by the work of artist Olaf Eiliason. This surface forms a mysterious volume, a monolith with unclear function. What’s happening gehind this facade? Is it a museum depot? A data center? A parking garage maybe? The program’s “emptiness” becomes such a trigger for wonder.

The construction of the first garage is now in preparation, with a planned start in 2018. In the end, a second garage will be built on the other side, with the same concept.

The parking garages will be built by Huber Car Park Systems for area developer De Alliatie.