Our photographer Marcel Steinbach has been there from the outset, visiting the construction site almost on a weekly basis. He was struck by the beauty of the construction process and by the urban design vision of life in the city that gradually unfolded. From sand, concrete rebar and mortar through to the realisation of a green microcosm, in which living, working and spending time come together naturally.
Work on the construction of Valley started in 2017 with the installation of steel piling and the excavation of the construction pit. This was then flooded with water in order to keep the steel piling and concrete floor in position.
The excavation work continued and when the pit was at the right depth, the foundation piles could be inserted into the ground. Underwater concrete was then used to pour a floor of 1.5 m of concrete, with divers on hand to provide assistance. After that, it was all sufficiently sturdy to pump out the water and pour in another 1.5 m layer of concrete over the floor. Next to the construction hut, a test version of the glass façade appeared.
First half of 2019
On this solid base, the first contours of what would ultimately become Valley began to appear, although it took six months before it protruded above ground level.
Second half of 2019
Valley became visible. After countless scaffolding arrangements, erratic shapes began to appear. Although they started their work looking upwards from the construction pit, the workers found themselves increasingly looking further down.
First half of 2020
From outside, drivers and train passengers became acquainted with Valley. Its unusual shapes proved intriguing. The green steel cubes that started appearing on the concrete floors increased the fascination still further. From the inside, The Grotto began to take shape, the public space with rooftop windows that would also double up as the bottom of the pond in a green oasis.
Second half of 2020
Valley reached its highest point. The three towers – 70, 80 and 103 m high could now be seen from afar. The glass frontages were placed into position. AFC football club suddenly had some extraordinary décor on the west side of the pitches.
First half of 2021
Slowly but surely, Valley was ‘unwrapped’. The scaffolding disappeared from the top. The first apartments, clad in natural stone, saw sunlight for the first time. Soil was added to all the terrace gardens. June saw famous garden architect Piet Oudolf pay a visit to Valley in order to add planting to his own vertical landscape design.
Second half of 2021
Construction cranes disappeared and the foundations they had rested on for more than three years were demolished. The planting continued: trees, shrubs, perennials, grasses and climbers. Still small at that stage, ready to grow to maturity in their new environment. The ‘unwrapping’ of Valley was complete. Inside, the first residents and users of Valley showed their faces.
The building comes alive. In the years ahead, the newly-planted greenery will bring about a new metamorphosis in Valley. It will invite visitors from the Netherlands and abroad to come and enjoy it.