Friday, October 5, 2007

Out of land.......then make some!!!

Model of Haveneiland

Rieteilanden block housing with informal courtyard

"Aesthetic-free" under construction on Steigereiland
Amsterdam is always in need of housing. Unfortunately it also has no extra land to build on. The solution: just build more land. That is what they are currently doing. By dredging the Ij lake, the excavated sand was used to make artificial islands. Located in the east side of Amsterdam, Ijburg was born. Phase one of this huge project is about complete and consists of 5 islands. The organization of each new island is based on a grid. The grid is composed of waterways, rectilinear streets, and rectangular blocks. Interestingly each of these blocks can have their own character. We visited 3 islands on our tour of Amsterdam, Steigereliand, Haveneiland, and Rieteilanden.
Haveneiland, the biggest island, has canals, a small marina, restaurants, shops, and block housing. Rieteilanden is a small residential island off of Haveneiland where there are urban blocks with collective courtyards. Private building on both of these islands has to be done with the use of a pre-approved architect. A private owner actually rents a plot of land from the City and builds their house there. Only after 50 years can the owner actually own the land their house is on. Steigereliand is the most experimental island. Here private have an "aesthetic-free" building idea. This means that the city can not dictate what type of brick to use or what size windows to use. Residential construction on Ijburg has only been going on since 2005 and there is more artificial land to be made.

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