The main aim of this study is to check if the new urban regulations that the Urban Planning Department of the city of Amsterdam wants to launch for the area known as ‘Overamstel’, could work in terms of density, typologies, etc.
One neutral block within the plan has been selected to develop the research. The block is defined by four very different sides, marked by different urban characters. On the north, the block faces a very urban road with dense traffic. On the east and west, there are more secondary streets. On the south the block faces a very quiet area in front of a canal.
Besides checking the regulations on the borders of the block, the study had to provide more specific solutions for the big urban courtyard, place where the regulations were still very open.
The outer borders of the block
Due to the fact that the required density for this area is quite high and that the market needs to offer as many different typologies as possible, it was quite clear since the beginning of the study that one possible approach could be to maximize the occupation of the maximum proposed envelope on the edges of the block in order to free as much space as possible within the courtyard. In this way it is possible to propose very different typologies still preserving a green character.
On the northern edge of the block, the maximum envelope allows volumes 16m wide and 7 floors high, including a combination of housing and commercial functions. Facing the secondary streets, smaller volumes will also have a mix of uses.
The inner coutyard
As starting point of the study of the inner courtyard two aspects have been defined: the distance between the outer volumes and the inner ones has to be minimum equal to the height of the bigger volumes and only one third of the surface of the inner courtyard can be built.
During the process, two basic models for the inner courtyard were selected in terms of typologies among several options to make the final test of the rules:
1 Row housing with collective and private gardens.
2 Small vertical apartment buildings with round shape that improves the quality of the relationship between nature and built volumes.
– The character of both conditions, the urban edge and the courtyard, should be very different in order to answer the market needs.
– The programme on ground floor of the secondary streets should remain flexible along the time, in order to allow dwellings, commercial uses or a mix of both depending to the market
– The inner courtyards should preserve a green character and enough natural light to promote an usable open space for the community
– The inner courtyards should be connected along a green axis, parallel to the main traffic road, but far from its noise
– Urban permeability should be allowed towards the south, where people can enjoy a good orientation and views over the water
– The heights of the buildings should be higher towards the north side of the plot and lower on the south area
– The open spaces could present a combination of different degrees of privacy: from very open green areas, till collective ones and private gardens
– The entrances to the parking areas should be combined with the main areas to enter the buildings
– A collective parking is the most efficient solution if placed on the north area; in that way almost 80% of the inner courtyard will be free from the parking underneath