Just between the A10 and the newly-completed Terrace Tower, a new building is being erected in Kop Zuidas. It is set to prove a real addition to Amsterdam, because of its multi-functionality. It will serve as the new home for businesses, young professionals and residence-permit holders. The building will be more than just a structure: it will be a place where alliances, friendships and knowledge-sharing can develop. This concept played a key role in the design that contractor BAM has been working on since February 2021.
Metres-wide water pipes
‘Once the land had been prepared for construction by the City of Amsterdam, we were, in principle, able to begin construction this year’, says Paul Spaargaren, project manager at BAM. He uses the term in principle because the land itself turned out to have a few issues. ‘Can you see that KPN tower in the distance? There are a lot of underground telecom cables leading from there into the city. They provide households with internet and telephone services and run right past our building site. These connections need to work while we’re building.’ Something else that cannot be seen with the naked eye are the metres-wide pipes that provide Amsterdam Zuid with its water. ‘That means we can’t just build at random: if we want to leave these important arteries intact, we will have to work with extreme caution.’
All of this has been preceded by a lot of detective work, involving various different players. ‘The consequences are so great if you do something wrong as a builder – you really don’t want to have it on your conscience when Amsterdam citizens end up with no internet’, says Spaargaren. This is why the first thing that BAM did was insert a huge wall of sheet piling. This separates the cables and pipelines from the building site. ‘It was pressure-inserted with extreme care in order to prevent causing any vibration.’ Was it touch and go? ‘The work itself can have major consequences, but because we are aware of that in advance, we monitor the ground really carefully. As a result, the work is not dangerous and everything is under control.’
Once the sheet piling was in place, the major work on the underground car park could start. First of all, the foundation piles for the building were put in place. ‘Pile-driving was not an option’, explains Spaargaren. ‘It just causes too much noise.’ Instead, steel boring tubes were used that are hollow inside and pointed at the bottom. ‘That made it easier for us to get them in deep.’ In these tubes, prefab concrete piles are suspended and the steel boring tube is then removed again. These piles are now in place. Spaargaren points towards a huge concrete support at the level of the car park floor. ‘That will soon have to bear the weight of the great big crane that will be needed for the remaining construction work on the building.’
The rest of the construction work currently mainly involves excavating sand on the site of the car park. A machine is removing the sand and you can already see the steel piling around the garage together with the steel columns that keep the steel piling in place. Spaargaren: ‘It’s actually a huge sandpit surrounded by walls that you dig out. When this is finished, we’ll pour in the concrete for the garage floor. Then we’ll start building upwards.’ CROSSOVER is scheduled for completion in 2023. Until then, we will be following the construction process closely.