Innovation That Matters

Prison redevelopment

Old prison becomes new eco city neighborhood


Amsterdam’s Bijlmerbajes prison will be redeveloped into a car-free, mixed-use district that focuses on community, recycling and reuse.

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A team of architects drawn from three companies – OMA, FABRICations and LOLA – will begin redevelopment of Amsterdam’s Bijlmerbajes prison complex in 2018. Built in the 1970s on the outskirts of the city, the site has since been enveloped by urban growth, making it a far more central location than it had previously been. The finished neighborhood will be called the “Bajes Kwartier” and will be home to a variety of public and private spaces, including affordable rental apartments, luxury condominiums, an urban vertical park and farm, arts and health centers, a school and a restaurant.

The expansion of the 7.5 hectare site will focus on community, recycling and reuse, with a goal of finding new purpose for 98 per cent of the existing building materials. All the structures in the updated complex will be energy-neutral (running on a mix of wind, solar and compost), and new pedestrian and bike paths and bridges will help make the space nearly car-free.

Some of the buildings in the prison complex have already been put to use as part of a new ideas hub helping to integrate refugees and long-time residents of the city. Projects finding new ways to use old or unused materials and spaces encompass everything from on-demand removal services to temporary affordable housing. Is bespoke production the most useful way to reduce leftovers and waste? And if so, how could the idea be adapted to specific areas of business?




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