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DIY/garden centre, Amsterdam

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Maccreanor Lavington Architects

Together with the office building, the adjacent cluster building forms a large urban composition. Whereas the former, with its solid brick elevations, is designed to last hundreds of years, architecturally suggesting timelessness and permanence, the architecture of the cluster building refers to the temporary timber warehouses that dominated the site in the past. The large timber structure is conceived as a neutral, translucent shell to house an exciting, contemporary and fashionable shopping centre to last a limited period of time.

A colourful variety of publicly accessible uses such as diy stores, a garden centre and fast-food restaurants will be housed in the building over the next 20 years. The distribution of uses, or even the whole building, can be reconsidered as the requirements of tenants or of the continuously transforming neighbourhood change.

The outer skin is formed by a filigree timber structure allowing for transparency and natural ventilation, placed on a ground-floor base designed as a glass band around the whole building containing shop windows, advertisements and works of art.

The shops on the ground floor form the largest closed units of the building. The first floor is subdivided into several medium-sized units providing indoor and outdoor areas for the garden centre and a selection of entertainment facilities. The building gradually opens up towards the glass roof connecting covered and uncovered spaces, voids, access ramps and circulation spaces. The building consciously uses the commercial concept of large shopping malls - still rather uncommon in the Netherlands - combining spatial variety and commercial density into a coherent whole to be experienced by the whole family.

The car park is on the top floor accessed by an internal ramp cutting through all levels, making the arrival at and the departure from the building an informative yet spectacular experience.

Client: Bouwfonds Woningbouw bv and Woningbedrijf Amsterdam

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