OKRA: Almere grows! The city grows not only in area but also in the number of inhabitants. It is predicted that Almere has 180.000 inhabitants and can measure itself against such cities as Tilburg and Groningen. Almere is marked by continued growth. An important generator for the city is the building production which moves forward without stopping. On the banks of the Weerwater a new city heart is created in which living, theater, nightlife and shopping are the central element. The fast pioneering development of Almere has created a city centre that is empty and cold. The station area looks like a place that isn’t pleasant to arrive and stay at. At the same time the new World Trade Centre is marking the new Station Area with its high rise. A change in the programming and lay-out of the current Almere Centraal is imminent. The dominating spatial element in the area is the railviaduct. Currently it is working as an barrier in the city. The network of public spaces in the station area is fragmented with small alleys connecting the main important spaces. In the case of Almere Centraal we have designed a development model for the public space with a perspective for the future. The design has a perspective of 15 years.
The most space consuming program element in the Almere Centraal area is the current bus station. If you take this specific element and bring it below the surface of the street level it creates a lot of possibilities to really change the structure and the quality of the public space in this area. For instance an optimal stacking of the traveler machine is possible. By moving the current station building above the bus station we create the ideal exchange between bus, train and city centre. The different levels are interconnected with fast escalators and big vide’s in the station hall interconnect the platforms visually.
The new station building is situated at the head of the new axes and functions as one of three passages which connects the north and south side of the new station area. An important part of the new cityplan is ‘the loop’. A basic assumption is a circuit in which the Weerwater is connected with the station area. The station, World Trade Centre and the new city center at the Weerwater are poles in ‘the loop’ and therefore connecting the city. The station area is part of this new ‘loop’. The extent of this ‘loop’ consist of two qualitative passages which connect both sides of the station area. The current station square is part of this ‘loop’. The design is kept very simple. A long catwalk opens itself to the new city center. Long benches accompanying the route. We have created a space in which you stay for a short period of time and wait to catch a train or go to the city center. In such an area the day-time is as important as the night time.
To realize the project and the planning process is accompanied by Quality team from the municipality of Almere, which is responsible for the realization of the new Stadshart Almere.
Landscape Architecture: OKRA
Location: Almere, The Netherlands
Client: gemeente Almere dienst Stadscentrum
Area: 3400 m2
Building costs public space: 1.100.000,- Euro, price level 2005
Report date: Vision Almere Centraal 1999
Construction date: Station square Almere Centraal 2007