Friday, September 3, 2010

Sparchasia | Almere Urban Entertainment Centre | Almere, Netherlands

Location: Almere, Netherlands
Project Status: Completed 2003
GFA (sqm): 16,000
Client: MAB Groep BV

The ‘polder city’ of Almere, close to Amsterdam, has grown up as a low-rise development along the lines of the English garden cities. Although the residential areas of Almere are attractive, the settlement lacks a real ‘heart’ and the lack of local amenities encourages people to commute to Amsterdam for entertainment. Almere has, however, something of a tradition of encouraging bold and innovative architecture and this has underpinned moves to transform the central area.

In line with the development masterplan for Almere, which envisages a process of ‘intensification’ for the city centre, Alsop have designed a 16,000 sq m waterfront entertainment centre. Completed in 2003, the Centre consists of a family of buildings grouped around a new square and elevated four metres on a unifying podium, which covers a parking area.

Varied in form, the buildings use a variety of materials to create a rich new urban landscape. At the heart of the development is the Pop Zaal, its reinforced concrete structure clad in pre-weathered zinc and steel mesh. The four storey hotel, in contrast, is clad in cedar boarding, while the retail centre is metal clad. The square itself is a lively place, with cafés and restaurants, attractive in all seasons......more

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