Bajeskwartier Amsterdam

Amsterdam, NL

Type Landscape design
Competition 2017
Masterplan 2018
Design 2021
Location Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Size 8 ha
Client Bajeskwartier Ontwikkeling (AM Development, Cairn, AT Capital)
I.c.w. OMA, LOLA, FABRIcations, Arons en Gelauff, Atelier Kempethill, Barcode Architects, BDG Architecten, Civic Architects, Mh1 Architecten, Moke Architecten
Advisors Tenman, European Network of Living Labs, Van der Tol, Sweco, reA architectuur, DGMR, The Waste Transformers, De Wijde Blik, Beelen, Wageningen University & Research, SkaaL, Koninklijke BAM
Team Eric-Jan Pleijster, Artur Borejszo, Leire Calvillo Mendoza, Mikel Orbegozo, Raf Rooijmans, Roberto Coccia, Joost van de Ven, Austin van Beek


Bijlmerbajes in Amsterdam, a former prison complex in the South-East of the city built in the 1970s, is being redeveloped into a lively and green housing area called Bajeskwartier. LOLA is responsible for the landscape design of the 8 ha site, set to become a natural, vibrant and car-free housing district in Amsterdam.

A vibrant area in development
The concrete towers of the Bijlmerbajes prison have been ominous landmarks in the periphery of Amsterdam for decades. With the city’s urban expansion to the north, south, east and west, the prison complex has gradually been enclaved by Amsterdam, and can now be redeveloped into a vibrant area four housing, culture and nature.

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 to the city around at several positions by new pedestrian bridges. Bajeskwartier will become a car-free housing district, with gardens and areas for recreation and fitness.

The gardens of Bajeskwartier
In total there are about 70 different new gardens and patios in the landscape design. There are gardens to grow vegetables and fruit, as well as sports gardens for playing ball, climbing or do fitness, and there are natural water gardens with reeds and water lilies. The gardens are publicly accessible and interconnected. Together they form a robust green route through the area of the Bajeskwartier. The landscape of the Bajeskwartier works as an ecological step in the nature network of Amsterdam.

Maximum reuse of heritage
Internally, the gardens are connected by the Kalverstraat: the central walking and cycling promenade of Bajeskwartier. In the landscape design, the public promenade is partially built from the old in situ concrete and the prefab concrete elements of the Kalverstraat. Some of the old prefab 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 pergolas, and the cell doors are to become balustrades for the new pedestrian bridges.


“The relationship between man and nature, in an ever-changing environment, is our source of inspiration. In Bajeskwartier the landscape is defined by the spatial layout of the former prison complex with prison towers and courtyards. Also, the robust materials that were used at the time, the stepped topography of the prison site, and the surrounding body of water were a source of inspiration for us. Our design aims to be strongly rooted in the history of the original prison, surrounded by lush nature.”

“Bajeskwartier will have about 70 gardens to delight all residents and visitors including mammals, birds and insects. In many of the gardens people can play sports or play, but they can also grow plants and socialize. For example, to have a picnic, as a school class for a lesson or just quietly to listen to a podcast or read a book. These are the gardens where everyone is welcome. Water gardens full of plants ensure that the water circulates and is cleaned, after which it flows into the canal around the site. Climbing plants will grow on the old prison wall, making it a home for birds and insects. Fruit trees are planted against it and sporty people can use the wall for bouldering. The remains of the old prison towers are given a new function in the public space. For example, as street furniture, pergola or paving.”

Water system

Green rooftops

Reused prison elements

The gardens of Bajeskwartier

Bajeskwartier garden typology