Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Silos Zeeburgereiland in Amsterdam, Netherlands by NL Architects
April 21st, 2011 by Sumit Singhal
The silos on Zeeburgereiland are looking for a new destination. The relocation of the sewage treatment plant sparked new developments in the area: the Island now becomes inhabitable. It is strategically positioned in between the center of Amsterdam and its latest expansion called IJburg. The Island is very accessible; it directly links to the ring road A10.
Three silos will remain. One will be developed into an office building and is not part of this competition. But it is essential that this tower will be conceived in close cooperation with the two other silos; they should form a set. In this proposal the silos will be dedicated to Climbing, Sports and Culture. The Second Coming of the silos will be abstract and mysterious. The existing structures will be extended to the maximum height to benefit from the views and to create monumental substance in the projected urban condition. In the midst of the mainly residential development the new silos are reminiscent of their industrial past. They will become an enhanced version of themselves; stretched and twisted, like most memories.
To enter this two stage competition it was obligatory to form a team of future users and to present a business plan. Developers Amvest and Blauwhoed composed a ‘broad coalition’ of dynamic organizations in the fields of music, theater, multimedia, fashion, dance and sports that will address a wide range of target groups and that will benefit from each others presence. The accumulation of these facilities will be an asset to the new neighborhood and create an intense cultural micro climate.
The Cultural Silo basically is a big pile of cultural facilities. Starting point is the ‘box in box’ principle. By positioning a new tube inside the existing one noise hindrance can be contained: it becomes possible to be loud inside without annoying the neighbors. And vice versa noise from the outside will not affect activities in the interior. In the cavity between inside and outside a monumental stair winds up, deforming the inner tube into a facetted Barbapapa.
There will be two theaters with dressing rooms and rehearsal spaces, spaces for workshops, for exhibitions and for music studios. And for Hair Design. A bridge connects the silos at the height of the original roof level, boosting the public character. The Silos become communicating vessels. Office spaces will be positioned on top. The top level will be dedicated to a restaurant with 360 degrees views and a roof terrace.
Believe it or not but climbing has become a national sport in the Netherlands. But the number of facilities is limited, new ‘routes’ are more than welcome. The silos offer great potential for indoor climbing. The diameter of 22 meter is sufficient for serious cantilevers and merciless overhangs that will make the trajectories a real challenge while keeping a form of concentrated intimacy. On the basis of the cylinder a 40 meter high artificial ‘cave’ can be created, a Gothic Atrium, an inverted Sagrada Familia. Artificial nature, Art Deco but fully Functional! A Pantheon-ish roof light will give a sense of direction. The space, probably one of the most spectacular in the City, can be used for many different events: weddings, performances, parties and will play an important role in the desired symbiotic relationship between the two towers. Since a Chapel is still missing from the new residential areas it could maybe double as a church…
Since climbing walls essentially are oblique, a sublime section can emerge: the increasing space between outside and inside -the ‘dark matter’ in a conventional climbing hall- can be inhabited: on the higher levels the ‘Poché’ becomes useable Floor Area. Here you’ll find a hotel, training facilities and a ‘square’ that can be used in multiple ways. These floors all have openings towards the void. After breakfast, you could go abseiling into the cave. On ground level is a public café. The café is connected with the climbing tower through a hole in the floor above it and is surrounded by the boulder area.
Climbing grips will be placed on the outside of the silo too. The exterior as such becomes part of the ‘program’; climbers will activate the facade. By ‘pushing’ the silo wall from the inside several swellings form on the outside: these bulges create more challenging routes. Through its new function the silo acquires a mysterious sculptural quality and becomes Logo.
Contact NL Architects