Bajes Kwartier Amsterdam, NL

year: 2017
size: 1 - 10 ha
type: landscape design
client: Dutch government
with: AM Real Estate, OMA, Fabric
Landscape design by LOLA for Bajes Kwartier selected by Dutch government

The Bijlmerbajes in Amsterdam, a former prison complex in the South-East of the city built in the 1970s, will be redeveloped by a team lead by AM Real Estate, in which LOLA is responsible for the landscape design of the 7.5 ha site. The collaboration includes the architects of OMA and FABRICations. The land and its buildings belong to the Dutch governments Rijksvastgoedbedrijf and will be sold to AM Real Estate.

A vibrant area in development
The towers of the Bijlmerbajes have been a landmark in the periphery of Amsterdam for decades. With the citys urban expansion to the north, south, east and west, the prison complex has gradually become a geographic center of Amsterdams new urban development, and can develop into a vibrant civic and cultural area.

The original prison masterplan was comprised of six linked towers and an administrative building, with a series of courtyards and separate gardens. In the landscape design, the island character of the prison enclosed by walls is conceptually preserved, yet linked at several positions through new pedestrian and cycle bridges. The Bajes Kwartier will become a largely car-free environment, with gardens and areas for recreation and fitness.

The gardens of Bajes Kwartier
From a couple of guarded courtyards between cellars to a wide range of gardens with freedom of choice. In total there are 67 different new gardens and patios in the landscape design. There are gardens to grow vegetables and fruit, as well as sports gardens for balls, climbing or fitness, and there are natural water gardens with reeds and water lilies, where you can even swim. The gardens are publicly accessible and interconnected. Together they form a robust green route through the area of the Bijlmerkwartier. The landscape of the Bajeskwartier works as an ecological step in the natural network of Amsterdam.

Maximum reuse of heritage
Internally, the gardens are connected by the Oude-, Nieuwe- en Verlengde Kalverstraat: the central walking and cycling promenade of the Bajeskwartier. The Kalverstraat was once the nickname for the long hall in the old prison. In the landscape design, the public promenade is completely built from the old in situ concrete and the prefab concrete elements of the Kalverstraat. Some of the old precast elements are even left standing as living memories of the old prison. Reuse of building materials is a key part of the redevelopment plans: prefab elements from the existing walls are to be reused as cladding for new residential buildings, prison bars will be used as balustrades, and the cell doors are to become edge panels for the new pedestrian bridges.