• Competition
  • Amsterdam
  • NL
  • 1995

The competition demanded a temporary building that should house offices and showroom for selling houses, at a beautiful spot in the former harbor-area of Amsterdam.


1. The temporariness of architecture is defined in the economical life cycle of a building. In that sense the demand for a temporary space for offices and showroom is best met by any existing and available commercial office space at a central and accessible location that was realized with the intention to make maximum profit in the shortest possible time.

2. The given location at the head of the former harbor is of essential importance for the spatial quality of its (new-) urban surroundings. The structuring quality of the large collective, but not so easily accessible space of the waterbasin manifests itself most prominently at this spot. The open spatial relation between basin, van Eesterenlaan and the tunnel entrance manifests the spatial meaning of the new urban scheme and its different parts on an urban scale. The demanded realization of built mass on exactly this location would seriously disturb these qualities.

3. The (re-)definition of the actual meaning of collective urban space in relation to the individual space of the dwelling, and vice-versa, is the most important question for architecture and urbanism today. One could postulate that nowadays ‘dwelling’ equals ‘car’.


The client, New Deal, rents suitable office space somewhere else. A collective urban space, that is open to various individual activities, is realized at the original location, the head of the waterbasin. In the waterbasin a large videowall will be erected, that offers on-line information from the New Deal offices. Specific information about the dwellings New Deal intends to realize in the neigborhood can be requested by cellphone and will be visually answered in real-time.


The collective open space of the basin is extended by a slope that slightly rises upwards to the van Eesterenlaan. The slope is folded a little, creating a series of different individual places, suitable for various activities: parking, picnicking, fishing, camping, repairing helping customers, even selling houses, and so on… Various activities that can take place at the same time next to each other. The individual character of the activities defines the programmatical individuality of different places that spatially and materially look more or less the same; their serial layout defines the collective character of this open urban space.

The videowall in the water is designed as an enormous TV set. Its position, in relation to the sloping ground enhances the spatial meaning of the basin in relation to its surroundings. On top of this huge TV a camera registers the activities that take place on the slope and shows them on TV; making the urban individual public.