Java Island, Eastern Docklands Amsterdam

The city of Amsterdam transform their Oostelijk Havengebied from decline into a successful urban renewal project. Various international architects transformed old abandoned port buildings into the most sought after residential buildings in the city.

Sjoerd Soeters’s plan for a redeveloped residential section began construction in the 1990s. The island had been abandoned due to less trade after the decolonization of Indonesia, which is where the island gets its name, but the island’s history in trade and as a breakwater should never be forgotten.

The post-modern buildings offer a unique living experience, standing right up against the water and in dense street conditions that recall medieval Europe. The vibrant night life of squatters and artists from before the demolition for this project still exist in new theater, restaurants, and concert halls.

Diversity in form is celebrated in these houses, rather than an attempt at unity. This is a vital lesson in rejuvenating old structures: delineate old structures versus new, and bring diverse forms!

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– flickr/creative commons license)

– flickr/creative commons license)

– flickr/creative commons license)