Most of the construction fencing is now in position and the building site – located between the two towers of Symphony and Mahlerlaan – has been set up. This part of Mahlerplein is in need of upgrading because what was originally intended as a public square has so far mainly been used to park scooters and bikes. It has so much more potential than that. Brouwers: ‘Just look at its northern counterpart, between Amsterdam Zuid station and Mahlerlaan. That part of the square was given an attractive upgrade back in 2015 and it looks so much more inviting.’ A design has been developed in the same style as the northern square and is set to give the southern section of Mahlerplein the boost it needs.
Big difference in short space of time
Brouwers can’t wait to get started. ‘I like this kind of project, because you can see a big difference in a relatively short space of time, with much more greenery. When the square is finished in March, there’ll also be much less space for bikes and scooters. Besides, cyclists can just park their bikes in the bicycle park under Mahlerplein and there’s now designated parking for scooters in Mahlerlaan.’ This kind of design takes around 2.5 months to complete. ‘The last few remaining bikes have been removed. We gave warnings about this in our reports and notices were placed on the bikes. This week, we’ll finish setting up the building site together with a small hut for the construction workers. We can then get down to the real work.’
Above a car park
The real work involves removing part of the street paving that will soon be surplus to requirements. This relatively easy work will be followed by the addition of natural stone contours and some specialist earthwork. Brouwers: ‘Because this work, like that on the northern square, involves building above a car park, the layer of earth needs additional treatment in order to be able to add plants. That means we have to incorporate a lightweight drainage and oxygenation system into the ground in order to ensure that the trees and other planting will have the right growing conditions.’ We’ll be adding the finishing touches in March, when the soil will be added, the trees planted, and the grass sown. Residents and people still coming to work in Zuidas can follow the process as it happens: the construction fencing has been deliberately kept low to enable you to see for yourself how Mahlerplein is being reshaped.