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Isometric projection of the Marine Site [MEA] in Amsterdam
Isometric projection of the Marine Site [MEA] in Amsterdam

Isometric view of central square
Isometric view of central square

Model of central square
Model of central square

Spatial sequence
Spatial sequence

Detail of head and long elevation on central square
Detail of head and long elevation on central square

Impression of passageway with view of The National Maritime Museum depot
Impression of passageway with view of The National Maritime Museum depot

Impression of port with view of the water and The National Maritime Museum
Impression of port with view of the water and The National Maritime Museum

Impression of square from arcade
Impression of square from arcade




PROJECTINDEX
 
THE SEQUENTIAL SPACE
Rotterdamse Academie van Bouwkunst
ARCHITECTURE

Emptiness as a departure point for architectural urban design at the Marine Site in Amsterdam.
The Marine Site (Marine Etablissement Amsterdam or MEA) has been a hidden enclave since the earliest times. At this historic place, formerly a stronghold for 350 years, this project offers an antithesis of tranquillity and introspection to the bustle of the city. The area has not been divided up into its constituent elements. Instead, the empty spaces have been enclosed and given architectural shape.
The design gives the site two faces. Green and open spaces line its edges, and there is a panoramic view across the water. By contrast, the courtyards are introverted and walled in. They frame particular views of the old inner city and its relics.
All architectural modulations have been designed to bring out the benefits of emptiness and sequences of urban space. They include round arches placed crosswise along the full length of an arcade, variations in size, height and depth, differences in floor level and a deliberate alternation of broad and narrow columns. Such interventions serve to differentiate what would otherwise be uninterrupted open space. It enables you to be in one space and imagine yourself in a space still to come.
Underpinning all this is a repeating supporting structure based on the everyday banality of parking. There is a continuous trade-off between this coercive grid and the need for more lightweight, varying sequences above ground. The supporting structure gives onto the adjoining canal zone in one direction across the design. This gives a difference in the thickness of masses in a ratio of 2:3, a ratio that persists in differences in outdoor rooms, in-between spaces and dwelling types.
The mutual dependence between spaces ultimately results in a pulsating spatiality. Because users observe more than one space at any one moment, it makes the experience of space dynamic instead of static. As a result, the city becomes a series of structures and spaces instead of an assemblage of discrete objects.

Passing through the historic gateway, I enter a realm of fragile, intimate gardens constantly subject to change. I roam through walled outdoor rooms, with the city and its sounds far behind me. I observe the materials and constructions around me, each with its own structure, rhythm and colour. A sense of seclusion envelops me and a serene silence prevails. I cross the square and seek the shelter of the arcade. The massive columns and varying depths produce a sensation of light and shade.
The perimeter walk affords enclosed views through to subsequent rooms and of the city. I’m looking out across the choppy waters of the IJ Inlet which contrast with the strict order and rhythm of the urban elevations around me. In the distance I see The National Maritime Museum, like an exquisite painting of a subdued cityscape.