The Pontsteiger location, part of the Amsterdam Houthavens, functions as a hub within the water city of Amsterdam. The ferry is an important link between the new urban neighbourhoods. The new building on the Pontsteiger, designed by Arons & Gelauff architects, represents a new impulse for the relationship between these neighbourhoods. The spectacular view from the upper floors is the central design theme of the building. HOSPER was asked to give shape to the publicly accessible outdoor space. An important starting point for the design is that the design forms a natural addition to this extraordinary location.
The U-shaped gate building encloses a central courtyard that opens towards the IJ in the north. The courtyard is a transit area to the entrances of the houses and the functions in the plinth and also serves as a lounge area for residents and visitors. The space is designed as a qualitative and comfortable outdoor space with a human scale that is experienced as pleasant during the day but also in the evenings and at night. Concrete steps lead from the courtyard to the lowered quay along the IJ.
Strong graphic pattern
The basis for the design is a strong graphic pattern that is readable from a high altitude. The pattern is made up of natural stone cobble stones, supplemented by concrete slabs, staircases and seating/ play elements. Part of the pavement is kept free of obstacles to provide a route for the fire brigade. The design of the outdoor space relates to the design of the pavilions on the ground floor of the building. The jump in scale between the building and the ground is tempered by trees and stepped seating/play elements with a maximum height of 90 centimetres. At the same time different heights allow for necessary items, such as bicycle parking and underground waste containers, to be fitted in unobtrusively.
Multi-stemmed birch trees will be planted in the courtyard. This is a species that does well in the urban environment, withstands the wind and has a reasonably transparent crown. In addition, the birch tree has a beautiful shape and colour. The undergrowth of low grasses provides comfortable shelter and a back cover to the seating areas. At the same time it will create a beautiful and dynamic image when the wind blows and throughout the seasons.
The lighting highlights the design elements. At night, the graphic pattern will be accentuated by light lines in the concrete seating/play elements. In addition the tree crowns will be illuminated from below by ground spots.