Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, The Netherlands
Rethinking the Airport Surrounding
This project proposes a new urban design for the area between Amsterdam city and its airport Schiphol – the so called Airport Corridor. It establishes a strategy for the whole corridor, as well as detailed designs for two focus areas.
The Amsterdam Airport Corridor stretches between the Zuidas Business District and Schiphol Airport. This area is known to be the location of a great amount of business activity, largely induced by the proximity of the airport and the largely excellent infrastructure connections.
Dominated by the infrastructure and requirements of the airport, the area lacks basic spatial qualities in many areas. Much of the land is covered with a sole focus on technical, safety and procedural requirements, resulting in unpleasant city-scapes and many underused pockets of space in between infrastructure trenches.
The whole area is highly heterogeneous: From the classical Dutch canal houses and canals, to a golf club, to settlements of alternative and informal living — the lack of coherent previous planning in the airport corridor has facilitated a patchwork of very different habitats.
While the connectivity across the main highways and via Schiphol Airport to destinations around the globe is excellent, the whole area shows a tremendous deficit in local connectivity. The highway, while being a fast connection between access and exit ramps, forms an unsurpassable barrier at any other point along its path. This well-known situation is further complicated in The Netherlands, where many highways are constructed on dikes as high as houses, that double up as flood protection. Hence, a main focus of the planning strategy was to facilitate connectivity on all levels: From surface street access for pedestrians, bikes and cars, to public transport connection both on and under ground.
Existing fragments of urban areas were to be integrated into the projects: A former radar station that is now home to a vibrant alternative cultural scene should remain untouched and could even be an anchor for careful future development.
Development pressure on the land in the airport region is high: The Netherlands, being a country largely located below the sea level within diked „polders“, see a scarcity of land unknown in many other countries. In a region like the airport corridor, where the majority of the Durch population and economic activity is located within a few miles radius, this leads to enormous pressure on potential developments. By aligning the new urban grids with the existing drainage trenches and dikes, the project tries to ensure that basic spatial qualities will remain in the future – regardless of the building activity.
The project enforces a consolidation of the built surface, by designating recreational park and water areas in zones that are either unsuitable for built development or already carry an intensive use, such as the golf course.
With a wealth of measures from connectivity, urban grids, to integration of existing settlements and strengthening of recreational spaces, the project proposes a holistic view on the airport region. The area has the potential to become the central, vibrant and thriving connectivity backbone of the Amsterdam Area.
Field of Studies
Academic Study Project
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
August 2012 – December 2013
Prof. em. Kees Christiaanse
Maurits Schaafsma, Schiphol
Cees Geldof, Amsterdam Dienst Ruimtelijke Ordening
Joost van Faassen, Gemeente Haarlemmemeer
Michel van Wijk, Schiphol Airport Development Corporation
Christian Salewski, ETH Zurich
Benedikt Boucsein, ETH Zurich
Bob Geldermans, TU Delft
Research and planning completed