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Urban Design Compendium

Case Study 121 - Remaining involved

121 - Borneo Sporenburg, Amsterdam, Netherlands

The masterplan developed by West 8 for Borneo Sporenburg in Amsterdam’s Eastern Docklands involved the application of a strict set of design codes. The codes set parameters on a range of criteria including access, parking, private open space, storey height, plot width and building materials. Importantly, the codes also specified that dwellings should be designed by a diversity of architects.

As part of the redevelopment of Borneo Sporenburg, 60 free parcels of land were made available on which private individuals were able to build their own homes under the guidelines provided by the design codes. These individuals consulted with the architects in organised workshops, challenging them o meet their needs by responding creatively to the design code.

The application of the design codes and the continued role of the principal urban designers in the scheme has ensured the creation of a diverse and innovative, yet harmonious development. It has also allowed the scheme to retain the character of the Amsterdam canal house typology. The experience of Borneo Sporenburg has had a significant impact on Dutch urban planning and free parcels are now often integrated into new planned neighbourhoods in the Netherlands.

Other Information

  • Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Project Team: Key partners: New Deal, Amsterdam Developer: New Deal b.v. Masterplanner: West 8 Urban Design and LandscapeArchitecture b.v. Architect: Over 100 different architects. Sculptural blocks by:de Architecten Cie: “The Whale”, Koen van Velsen: “PacMan”Steven Holl (original design) and Kees Christaanse (construction)
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UDC2 Section - Delivering Quality and Adding Value 

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