Barcode Architects presents the final design for The Robin – the first residential tower in the ’Bajeskwartier’. This area development is a lively living and working area on the site of Amsterdam’s iconic Bijlmerbajes, a former prison complex.
Project Name: The Robin Bajeskwatier
Studio Name: Barcode Architects
The Robin occupies a prominent position in this plan – in the Central District, on the square where the two main axes of the area intersect. In the design, the original white volume of one of the prison towers is rebuilt and extended by three interlocking, lower volumes. These ’boxes’ are raised 4.5 metres off the ground, creating space for a light, inviting plinth with public functions at ground level, such as a service centre and daycare centre. Opening the plinth all around creates a strong connection between the building interior and the urban context, breathing life into the public space around the building.
Dirk Peters, partner Barcode Architects:
“Impressive and unexpected is the hidden atrium at the core of the building. The six-storey high open space is the vibrant heart and provides space for a multitude of possible functions, such as exhibitions, extensive artworks and public events for the neighbourhood. For both residents and visitors, this provides a unique experience.”
The atrium follows the historic line of the Bajestoren (prison tower) and runs from the entrance hall to the first roof terrace, linking the main communal areas. Openings in the walls provide views of the atrium’s activities from the floors.
Residential programme and green roof terraces
The residential programme comprises 129 apartments and appeals to a wide variety of target groups. The bright, spacious residences range from compact, functional studios to expansive lofts and have a variety of high-quality outdoor spaces. Green roof terraces have been constructed on top of each of the three low blocks, providing plenty of additional outdoor space for all building residents. These collective terraces are located on different floors, creating a natural interplay with the surrounding buildings. The landscaping on the large roof terraces gives the building a green and attractive appearance all around and contributes to heat stress reduction and water storage in the area.
The building, like the entire Bajeskwartier, will be designed and built circularly. Part of the original prison wall will have a new place in the design and a large part of the raw materials from the demolition of the old Bajes buildings will be reused in the construction. PV panels will also be installed on the tower’s roof and the tallest block. In addition, The Robin will feature nature- inclusive additions such as nesting boxes for birds and bats, green roofs and insect hotels.
Dialogue between old and new
The building shows a clear dialogue between old and new, between the massive and the light. Whereas the gold-coloured, open grid facade gives the three low-rise volumes human proportions, the concrete facade of the tower has a more closed appearance. The dimensions of the tower follow the structure of the original Bajestoren. The fifth layer of the tower is characterised by floor-to- ceiling glass panes, providing a unique quality to the apartments behind. This intersection of the concrete volume gives a pleasant scale and size and makes a nod to the architecture of the past.
About the Bijlmerbajes
From 1978 to 2016, the Bijlmerbajes was one of the most famous prison complexes in the Netherlands. The complex consisted of six iconic towers connected by a central connecting corridor, which inmates called the Kalverstraat. In 2019, OMA, LOLA Landscape Architects and FABRlCations created the master plan for this area with a rich history and the image of a forbidden island. The new Bajeskwartier will be a green, vibrant city quarter with around 1,350 homes, international allure and an important role in design, art and sustainable interventions.
Bajeskwartier is located in Overamstel and is a development by Bajes Kwartier Ontwikkeling C.V., a partnership between AM, Cairn and AT Capital. Construction of The Robin is expected to begin in late 2022 and completion will take place in late 2024.