The Spine is a project to revitalize an iconic yet in–decline site located at Wibautstraat in Amsterdam. The intervention reforms two key aspects of the site: it reconfigures the unrelated building volumes into an organized compound of strong spatial identity, defining the surrounding public space; it transforms isolated programmes into an interconnected hybrid.
The site has been developed in place of an old railway intersection to which it owes its distinct shape. Since 1952 the area has been developed as a shred of a modernist garden city, a green open space with free–standing, large–scale buildings. To highlight the contrast with the surrounding traditional city structure, the buildings on site have been organised along an axis rotated by 10˚ relative to the adjacent street and the main direction of historical post–agriculture plots.
The Spine is a physical manifestation of the axis organising the site, bringing forth its spatial clarity and coherence as a distinct urban entity.
The new building regulates fragmented street facade, replacing the large, amorphous space of the site with a series of smaller, more defined spaces. Transparent facade and a small entrance plaza on the street side invite passers–by into the building. Open ground level grants access to a public park behind the building, protected from the street noise.
Added public programme expands the user base, while interconnection encourages user exchange between previously separated buildings.
Footbridges connect the new and old buildings, leaving the ground level open to pedestrians.