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Ideas for Cruquius


Step by step transformation

The Haarlemmermeerpolder is one of the most dynamic areas in the Netherlands. This polder between Amsterdam and the Hague, once almost exclusively agricultural, has seen a rapid change in the last decades. It houses one of Europe’s largest airports and two former villages have exploded into large suburban areas. The little township Cruquius has until recently remained untouched but is now bordered by the polders largest home decor shopping mall. Squeezed in and buffering between township and mall lies the yard of construction company Dura Vermeer. The yard is outdated, the company has decided to reorganize or move. And gone is the buffer.

The architecture center of Haarlemmermeer invited architects, urban planners and landscape architects for a one day workshop to produce ideas for new life on the yard between the township and the mall. Bart Aptroot and Wim Kristel realized that between the monoculture of big box stores and the vulnerable organically developed community of the township, it would be difficult and tricky to plan a fitting new development at once. Instead, they proposed a development strategy to transform the site step by step.

The transformation could literally start tomorrow, as empty Romney sheds find a temporary use as workshops and showcases for young and starting professionals. Parts of the yard can be used to organize summer and holiday fairs, luring the shopper to stay a bit longer.

After a couple of years some of the permanent structures of the site find new users, willing to do moderate investments to prolong the life spans of these buildings.  In the meantime, as the area starts to live in the hearts and minds of shoppers and residents and its value increases, plans can slowly ripen for new developments on the site. A simple grid will form the basic spatial support for small projects, some complementary to the decor shopping mall, some residential.

Over a period of about ten years time, with no image yet of what the outcome will be, a new neighbourhood could grow, fusing the two seemingly unreconcilable parts together.

The architecture center of Haarlemmermeer published the results in a booklet (Dutch language only). A PDF version can be downloaded on their website or by following this direct link: download booklet

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