Jan van Schaffelaar Park is a noisy site located right beside the A10 ring road on the edge of the Kolenkit neighbourhood in Amsterdam. For a long time this unbuilt site served an important function for local residents as a green space and gathering point. A sizeable programme of housing is planned on the site.
The proposal ‘Rhapsody in West’ was developed in a unique collaboration between designers, contractor, investor and surrounding residents, under the supervision of Tangram and SYNC urban The artist collective Cascoland represented the neighbourhood. The plan combines high density with space for greenery and water — all accessible to people from the area. Space to conceal a car park, storage units and water storage areas was created by exploiting the height difference with the bridge that crosses the A10. The porous composition facing the existing housing gives the new block an open feel.
Cleverly shaped buildings eliminate the need for defensive measures such as noise barriers. A remarkable detail is the extremely strong energy performance, with a negative EPC (-0,15!), meaning that the development generates enough energy not only to meet the needs of residents but also to feed surplus power into the public network. This is achieved through various measures, including solar cells that turn to follow the sun’s path, thus boosting the energy yield considerably. Moreover, the rounded shape of the blocks, which can be freely subdivided internally, contributes to the compactness of the design. With construction of Rhapsody in West scheduled to start in mid-2016, the plan is a model of high-quality, community-minded and user-friendly urban design for the future.