At the fringes of Amsterdam-West and in close proximity to the international airport, the former IBM office complex has been developed, in recent years, into a new office environment for Europe’s largest start-up community. Our proposal for a temporary civic square in front of its main office building aims to link the existing working community with the future inhabitants of the high-density neighbourhood which will be built in the coming years. The temporary urban situation requires a strategic set of interventions that open up the building’s plinth and set the stage for various new urban programs.

A new entrance platform was proposed as a public lobby for the existing building and additionally functions as an independent piece of urban furniture for the neighbourhood’s inhabitants. The urban configuration will be constantly changing as new buildings are being developed and logistics are changed. In this light, a specific line plan was designed to mediate between the intensive streams of traffic and logistics that will continue to flow through the public space. By linking all temporary interventions through a bright colour, as opposed to the black and grey spectrum of the existing office environment, the readability of the new development becomes clear and, in turn, shapes the new identity of this place.

All of the vertical elements, such as lights posts and traffic signs, were arranged in a diagrid and hold specially crafted rings which enable a variety of urban pergola configurations. The temporary square is thus conceived as a dynamic place, always adapting itself to new situations and uses within the rapidly changing Schinkelkwartier development.

Location: Amsterdam
Year: 2021-2022
Client: Timeless Investments / B.Amsterdam
Construction: Flora Nova
Photography: Riccardo di Vecchi