The brief called for a water park to complement the existing city park with a park of a more adventurous character. In addition, the Water Park had to be a key link in the ecosystem connecting two waterbodies (the Sloterplas and the Nieuwe Meer) through a system of canals with ecologically designed banks.
The plan envisages a series of islands connected by bridges, which together form a single entity, a single spatial composition. The four islands were created by breaching the existing embankment in five spots, which were chosen with a view to preserving as many trees as possible. This aim was one of the factors that helped determine the shape of the islands.
On the side facing the four apartment blocks, the islands gradually slope down towards the water. The resulting wide beaches mark the incline between the islands’ rim and the original surface level, where the preserved trees rise from the grass.
Each island’s beach is made of a different material: grey glacial stones, rough lava rock, slabs of slate and sand. The materials used are deliberately large to prevent vandalism and the sand is coarse to avoid drifts. A sturdy sheet pile edge marks the boundary between the ground level and the beach of the islands, highlighting their shape.
The bridges have a horizontal look to accentuate the elongated character of the island chain. The deck hanging between what functions as a truss is formed by wooden joists set in a slightly protruding steel framework, which prevents it from becoming slippery when it rains.
The four apartment blocks are connected by a wide quay—made of dark grey concrete elements—and a lawn that stretches between the buildings. For the public’s convenience, all paths are made of very dark, very smooth asphalt.
The playground is shaped liked a fort and has four trampolines on top. For children between the ages of six and fourteen it is a different domain, a world of their own.
The footbridge across the islands is lit by means of ten-metre-high, dark grey lamp-posts fitted with three to four floodlights that illuminate both the path and the bridges as well as the trees and the beaches. The lighting gives the Water Park a distinctive atmosphere, which differs slightly from the rest of the borough.
|Instead of elegant banks, large, smooth concrete slabs allow people to sit, lie, lounge and picnic, among other activities.|
A large number of new trees were planted in addition to the existing ones. On the islands, the overall tone will eventually be set by the weeping willow, complemented by a variety of park trees including tulip trees, acacias, wingnuts and flowering shrubs such as magnolias, dogwoods and catalpas.
City of Amsterdam
with Tauw bv
Emilio Troncoso Larrain
Golden Amsterdam Architectural
Prize 2010 (Golden A.A.P.) for
the apartment blocks including
the public space