Zuidas Business District Zuidas Lives

The Puccini method takes shape around Van der Valk

The area around the Van der Valk hotel and EMA is undergoing a major transformation at speed. EMA was recently completed and its neighbour Van der Valk is now nearing completion. The time has come to apply the ‘Puccini method’ to the area. Designer of public spaces, Joost de Wit, explains how we do that.

What exactly does the Puccini method entail? De Wit: ‘This is a standard method for the Amsterdam streetscape. It’s characterised by high-quality landscaping of public space. The space needs to be user-friendly, accessible, safe, manageable, sustainable, affordable, cohesive and attractive.’ For Zuidas, the use of materials is largely predetermined. ‘It needs to be, to ensure uniformity. It makes Zuidas even more a part of the network of public spaces in the city. For example, we use a lot of brick paving on the roads, 30/30 tiles and a specially-designed lighting plan.’

Work in progress

‘Work in this area has been in progress for some time already’, continues De Wit, ‘but what you see now is the work we’re doing to create a fence at the Zorgvlied transformer station.’ It’s not just an ordinary fence. ‘Because we’re aiming to give the area a transparent and accessible feel, the fencing is made using vertical bars with plenty of space between and around them. On the pavements, we’ve rolled out a carpet of paving using the Puccini method and the fencing is on top of that. All of this helps create a pleasant and clearly-structured feel that matches the public space in the rest of the city and therefore has real Amsterdam appeal.’

Work is still underway here, to the right of the Van der Valk

Creative design team

Despite the application of the Puccini method, there was still room for the design team to be creative. De Wit: ‘In the years ahead, this area will primarily be marked by its transformation from an office location on the edge of the city into a mixed Amsterdam neighbourhood. The arrival of houses and flats, bars and restaurants, new sports fields and hotels will change the atmosphere. We’re already anticipating this by landscaping public space in such a way that it creates a pleasant environment to spend time in and invites you to stop and look around. That is why we added attractive benches and a lot of sustainable planting. The planting also boosts biodiversity and improves the drainage of rainwater.’

In the period ahead, work will start on the cycle path on Barbara Strozzilaan

New footpath

What can local residents expect to see in the period ahead? De Wit: ‘We’re now fitting the fencing at Zorgvlied and in Domenico Scarlattilaan, in front of EMA, we’ve already made significant progress with the new landscaping. In the coming months, people will also notice the construction of a footpath leading from Tomasso Albinonistraat, in front of the Van der Valk hotel, to RAI station. It’s a new path that previously did not exist. We expect it to be usable around springtime, when Van Der Valk opens. We’ll also be repaving the cycle path on Barbara Strozzilaan. Because we’re working in phases, it can look like lots of small projects at first sight but it’s actually the start of a major transformation of the public space in this area.’

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