Westbeat: Dynamic New Link in the Public Space Network

Studioninedots

Architects: Studioninedots
Location: Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Area: 24.300 m2
Year: 2020
Photography: Frans Parthesius

The completion of Westbeat adds a dynamic new link in the public space network of Amsterdam Nieuw-West. Designed by Studioninedots, the new housing complex features a public base composed of 86 arches that shape a network of inviting, shared open spaces. Measuring 65 x 50 meters long and 8.5 meters high, this superspace literally and metaphorically elevates Westbeat to become a distinguished destination in the city’s densifying urban periphery.

The graceful arched spaces of Westbeat form a sculptural setting that invites residents, locals and the public to discover this new public hub and make it their own. This superspace alternates in function, hosting workspaces, hospitality venues, performances, concerts and more. What supports this flexibility of use, also for the future, are vast areas of open floor space created by the high arched structures.

Diverse types of open and intimate spaces are shaped by the network of different sized arches and differences in floor heights. Additionally, the arches are a visual and structural transition between the basement car park, with its wide spans, and the 150 dwellings above. Broad arches in the façade frame and highlight the cultural activities within, with the largest arches positioned at the corner as an inviting gesture from this prominent address.

Westbeat has high ambitions. It marks the ‘Leap over the Ring’ (beyond the A10 highway); it bridges the height differences on site with new pedestrian routes through the building and acts as a noise and traffic barrier using sound-dampening façades and green galleries. From a social perspective, Westbeat focuses on young urban residents and supports the entrepreneurial and creative spirit of this emerging neighborhood. In collaboration with the first occupants, Studioninedots will design their part of the interior of the superspace.

“For Westbeat to become a social destination, the architecture needs to make a mark; the vast arched public space creates the ‘wow’ factor we imagined.”
– Albert Herder, Studioninedots

Westbeat: WanderVoid XL

At this busy location, Studioninedots envisioned Westbeat as a catalyst for meeting, exchange and connection. The firm investigated the design of iconic public spaces without a fixed use, launching the concept of WanderVoids this year in response to the fact that too many public spaces in our crowded cities are over-determined, too specifically focused on limited types of users.

At Westbeat, these flexible spaces create room for play and experimentation, for excitement and wonder, and address both a fascination and societal needs. Thus, Studioninedots recognizes a renewed desire for physical places that appeal to our imaginations and are therefore essential to a high quality of urban life.