Get The New Metropolitan’s perspective on contemporary Amsterdam with Richard Williams’ December photo-essay.
All images Richard Williams, December 2014
1. A’dam tower under construction
From the ferry on the river IJ, the A’dam tower under construction, and at its base, the EYE film museum. The A’dam Tower is a conversion and expansion of the Toren Overhoeks, the 1970s HQ of Royal Dutch Shell. The project architects, Claas & Kaan, have stripped the tower back to its steel frame, recladding it and adding an observation deck. The project targets tenants from the creative industries. It will be a ‘multifunctional building open 25 hours a day’. The breathless advertising, written in the first person by ‘A’dam’, promises relentless excitement.
2. The A’dam tower under construction (detail).
The crane has been installed to build the observation deck.
3.The EYE film museum
Designed by the Viennese firm Delugan Meissl Associated Architects, opened in 2012. It houses exhibition space, film theatres, and the usual social spaces. The design is deliberately spectacular, designed to draw attention to the (relatively) neglected north bank of the IJ. Like other recent cultural buildings, it encourages the visitor to look out as well as in: the panoramic windows turn the city, and its waterfront into a site of both literal and imaginative speculation.
4. A’dam tower render, showing completed design.
5. Palace of Justice at IJ dock.
By Claas and Kaan Architects. The Palace of Justice development lies to the west of Central Station, directly opposite EYE. It includes a harbour for pleasure boats. It doesn’t read as a government building at all: it could be a museum, apartments or a prison. The fragmented design is a knowing, ironic take on modernism, the default style of the Netherlands.
6. Interior of Place of Justice, from the IJ.
7. Container housing for students
Container housing for students at the NSDM site, Amsterdam Nord. Built by Tempohousing in 2012 to meet high demand for student accommodation. The use of shipping containers has become a aesthetic worldwide, a signifier of the so-called creative industries. In this case, economy was a factor: the strength of the container meant that the structure needed no additional reinforcement. The surrounding environment is hard, to say the least.
8. Graffiti, Amsterdam Nord
9. Disused tram turned into a home
10. NDSM interior, Amsterdam Nord.
The machinery of the original yard is clearly visible at ceiling level.
11. NDSM interior view.
The shipyard Nederlandsche Scheepsbouw Maatschappij operated from 1894 to 1979, building many iconic ships of the Dutch merchant marine including liners for the Holland-America Line. Squatted from the 1980s, in recent years it has become part of the Bureau Broedplaatsen Project (‘Broedplaats’ = breeding ground) designed at encouraging entrepreneurial activity in the creative industries. The shipyard itself houses artists’ studios, some very large. A skatepark used to occupy a large part of the building, but has recently closed The project is one of the most literal interpretations anywhere of the sociologist Richard Florida’s theories. Close by can be found the usual bars and restaurants, and the Amsterdam offices of MTV Europe.
12. NDSM interior view
Individual artists’ studios can be extremely large.