14 April 2006

Almere and more..

Day 5 -

After one day of break for School and also for body I was back on the move. A today took me to a suburb of Amsterdam, actually an ex-suburb now almost a sprawling city and towards the end of the day to Amsterdam itself.

Almere was founded in the early 80's as a suburb of Amsterdam (some 20 minutes from there by train) on newly reclaimed land and the city grew rapidly in a sort of uncontrolled fashion until the early 90s, when the local government understood the potential to develop the place as another city rather than a suburb and commissioned OMA to design a new City Centre, since the earlier one was not designed or structured in anyway and generally formed around the Centraal station.


OMA proposed and eventually executed (above pics) the Masterplan for the New City Centre that elevated the central area to keep the cars off the main pedestrian shopping core and but all the major infrastructure below.

Like many other Dutch cities in the 90s Almere too used architecture especially by 'famous' firms to promote itself. Though this may seem like a good idea it sometimes greats a ugly collage of supposedly good buildings or something even worse - just plain ugly buildings - like this one (above) by the English firm of architect Wil Alsop.


However, there are a few interesting projects, like this Apartment building by Claus en Kaan architects. Check the website of this dutch firm at http://www.clausenkaan.com/index_NS.html (they have some interesting but very conventional Housing projects).

And 2 more images from a suburb of Almere (if the idea being a suburb of an suburb didn't tickle you check this out).This (below) is Rainbow, and believe me I didn't make up that name for the place.

I guess the builders and architects of these otherwise interesting housing units pushed their luck too far with the colours.

Even the streets are named after colours or tones (Like this one in the above right corner was 'Sepia' street). And for some time now I been worried that Europeans and especially the Dutch don't have a sense of humor. Though I wonder what it would mean for kids growing up here.

Now colour blind, I headed for Amsterdam and to see a 'real' suburb. Here's a few images (below) of crazy CIAM buildings in southern Amsterdam in Arena.(Arena is famous for the big football stadium, very close to these humongous buildings)

These buildings actually snake around almost a length of a Km each with huge open spaces (so-called gardens) in between. Architecture can really be scary.

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