Rieteiland Oost is probably the most extraordinary island of IJburg. Not only is it the smallest island, it also has the most natural character. Despite the relatively small plots (only 90, 350m2 average) the neighbourhood is very green, especially for Amsterdam standards. Nowhere else so close to the city center of Amsterdam have there been plots for self-built housing that offer so much space and freedom, peace and privacy, water and landscape. Rieteiland Oost has become a small community where people live freely surrounded by nature and water – a rarity in Amsterdam.
An island, indeed
The challenge of Rieteiland Oost was to design a top quality villa suburb, despite a high building density and a vast diversity of architectural expressions due to the self-development plots. Right from the start it was clear that typical features of the landscape, namely being an island, would be leading to realize a distinguishing living environment.
An island creates its own conditions for spatial interpretation. Additionally the sandy soil is only suitable for certain types of plants. The apparent limitations of soil and space ultimately offered opportunities for an urban plan with a very specific vegetation structure. A strong, green framework gives the whole island a common identity that unites the diversity of architecture. The vegetation embraces the villas, which vary in appearance and quality, within one coherent neighbourhood.
Green in the lead
The urban concept plays with the island features. Wherever you are at any time of the year you can see and feel the surrounding waters. A clear lay-out of a main road with wedges and informal courtyards create sight lines and panorama views. Where possible houses are located at the waterfront with a view at a typical Dutch landscape. Those who are not orientated on the water, gain an alternative quality for its very green position on the main road, the hedges of the yards. At the banks collective and individual jettys are realized offering an extra quality for all island residents.
The design of public space also contributes to a calm and natural island. Design elements all have warm, modest colours and forms; they let the green and houses shine.
The rugged and natural look of Rieteiland Oost is guaranteed by a visual quality plan for architecture. Since individuals had the freedom to design their own houses, a series of supporting architecture guidelines were formulated. Thus, the main volumes needed to be as simple and compact as possible with integrated garages and extensions. Flat roofs were encouraged as were materials with a natural appearance. The image quality plan promotes sturdy contemporary homes that blend well with the island´s atmosphere. The results show the guidelines were followed.
A successful rarity
The landscape design, urban planning and architecture of Rieteiland Oost all had one aim: creating a quiet and natural island surrounded by water and greenery. A rarity in Amsterdam. Despite their relatively small size and high price, the lots were in great demand. Close to the city, here families found the unique opportunity to realize their own house with a garden in a child-friendly environment.
The professional integration of landscape, urban planning and architecture has resulted in a neigbourhood with a distinctive character and a sense of community.
Other designers involved in the design of landscape: Civil engineering: Witteveen+Bos
Project location: Rieteiland Oost, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Design year: 2003-2018
Year Built: 2008-2018