Open Fort 400 – Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Competition 2009, Mention

For: NAi and Ymere

Although we constantly form wider and more profound theories on the city, it´s evolution could be resumed in the transformation from a mere point for trade and strategic means (fortification) to a complicated structure of economical, political and cultural concentration (metropolis). We could speak of a dichotomy because the first is closed from it´s surroundings and is focussed inward, while the latter is part of an open network and absorbs energy from outside. These characteristics do not only count for the western city, but for the city in general as product of mankind.

WIC takes the theme of the competition ´Open Fort 400´ to propose the ´World Institute of the City´ on the location along the river IJ. This institute celebrates the evolution of the city and is a cultural magnet for all activities regarding this subject. Besides showing the evolution in the form of an exhibition and archive, a more interactive programme, like lectures, workshops and congress deals with the present situation and future. Like the environment, the city faces many problems and challenges to overcome. Amsterdam could take a leading role in the global debate on the city by organising events for a wider public and concerned professionals that increase the common awareness of all it´s different faces and layers of existence.

The spatial forms point and structure are the starting point for the design which is a fusion of the two idioms; the ancient fortress as symbol of the strategic history, skyscrapers and three dimensional complexity as symbol of the present and future development of the city.
The WIC’s programme is divided in three loops through the towers. On different levels the loops cross the streets giving various spectacular views and generating the sensation of movement in a real city. In the vertical sense each loop gives access to a different layer of the programme.