Ambachtsplein: Transforming an Empty Space into a New Hub of Activity
The Ambachtsplein, situated in the city center of Leiden between Langegracht and Singelpark, is flanked by a municipal office and the Ambachtshuis, housing a brewery (Pronck) and a stonemasonry workshop (BamBam). This area is part of a transition zone where a number of new homes and other facilities will find a place.
The goal for the Ambachtsplein is to become an urban hotspot for makers—a space where craftsmanship and intellectual work converge, creative industries thrive, and a platform for art makers adds vibrancy to the environment. It is envisioned as a place for all seasons, yet currently, it functions more as a residual space.
The existing Ambachtshuis will undergo a significant restructuring, done in close collaboration with local stakeholders, to better accommodate the current users while respecting the monumentality of the building—a former waste incinerator and later a transformer building.
The municipal office building (‘Tweelinghuis’) on the south side will be transformed on the lower levels to accommodate, among other things, a daycare center. Rising in height towards the west, a new building zone will be added for studios, including a bookbinding workshop, furniture upholstery, and stained glass workshop. Closer to the west, this new construction will include apartments, partly connected to the studios of the makers. In the middle of the square, there will be room for a ‘Makershuis’—an all-encompassing sculpture providing space for additional maker studios. On the east side, this sculpture will serve as a tribune for the new stage on the square for music and theater performances. Accessible via the tribune, an upper route will lead to exhibitions and the upper gardens.
The enclosed square will be multifunctional, serving as an outdoor terrace for the brewery with an associated catering facility. At the waterfront, the existing gas station will be enveloped with fields for hops. This area will serve as a boarding point for water taxis and sightseeing boats and for the loading and unloading of goods.
In the second phase, a city roof could enhance the utility value of the square throughout the year, even during rainy weather.