studioninedots has designed the ‘westbeat’ housing complex in amsterdam , the netherlands, with a public base composed of 86 arches. the arches shape a sculptural network of shared open spaces that invites residents, locals and the public to make it their own. measuring 65 x 50 m and 8.5 m high, this superspace alternates in function, hosting workspaces, hospitality venues, performances, concerts and more.all images by frans parthesius
studioninedots has developed ‘westbeat’ as a dynamic new link in the public space network of amsterdam nieuw-west. the new housing complex features a large public base composed of graceful arched spaces that alternate in function. vast areas of open floor space created by the high arched structures support this flexibility of use. the network of differently-sized arches forms diverse types of open and intimate spaces, while generous arches in the façade frame and highlight the cultural activities within.
’for westbeat to become a social destination, the architecture needs to make a mark; such a vast arched public space creates the “wow” factor we imagined,’ says albert herder of studioninedots. the arches also act as a visual and structural transition between the basement car park, with its wide spans, and the 150 dwellings above the public zone.
‘ westbeat’ bridges the height differences on site with new pedestrian routes through the building, while acting as a noise and traffic barrier with sound-dampening façades and green galleries. from a social perspective, the project is developed with a focus on young urban residents and supports the entrepreneurial and creative spirit of this emerging neighbourhood. in collaboration with the first occupants, studioninedots will design their part of the interior of the superspace.
studioninedots investigated the design of iconic public spaces without a fixed use, launching the concept of ‘wandervoids’ in response to the fact that too many public spaces in crowded cities are over-determined, too specifically focused on limited types of users. at ‘westbeat’, these flexible spaces create room for play and experiment, for excitement and wonder, and address both a fascination and societal needs. with this, the local architecture studio recognizes ‘a renewed desire for physical places that appeal to our imaginations and are therefore essential for a high quality of urban life’.