City of Amsterdam
Berit van Hulst, City of Amsterdam, Ruimte en Duurzaamheid.
Photos: © Marjan Sins
In 2014, the space outside the beautifully renovated pavilion which houses the cultural hotspot VondelCS was adapted to complement the restoration.
The brief was to ensure that the area immediately surrounding the building not only provided the perfect foil for the pavilion but also fitted in with Jan David Zocher’s design for the Vondelpark dating back to 1865.
VondelCS is surrounded by a magnificent carpet of saffron-coloured clay pavers from Vande Moortel, framed with green. The classic, understated design consists of a clear structure and reflects the history of the building.
It involved reinstating the central steps which disappeared after 1919 when the level of the ground was lowered. At the front, the two symmetrical terraces create an openness and combine with the raised borders to completely surround the building and its foundations with green.
Surprising colours have been included in the planting scheme for the borders around the building. These give the pavilion an enchanting appearance that evolves throughout the year with the changing seasons.
The plants around the building increase in height the closer they are to the structure so that eventually, the building is flanked by shrubs and trees. The design of the planting emulates the wings in a theatre, creating the feeling of a front stage and a back stage around the building. At the front, there is the public area and at the back, the loading and unloading area.
When you walk from the Vondelpark across the terrace and into the VondelCS, you are crossing the threshold from a public space to a private space. The area outside the VondelCS has been designed in such a way that this cross-over becomes clear in a natural way and as a result, the area succeeds in its role as a semi-public “transition space”.
The yellow SeptimA Saffron clay pavers contribute to the effect as their colour blends seamlessly with the semi-paved footpaths in the park itself. However, due to the change in the paving material used, the visitor definitely has the feeling that he is entering a different space. That feeling is reinforced by the low hedges around the terrace. These hedges follow the meandering lines that characterise Zocher's design for the park. Being low and wide, they also confirm the prominent status of the building within the landscape of the Vondelpark. The combination of these elements provides a clearly defined layout that naturally directs the use of the different areas.
The paving also makes the ideal sustainable substrate for this multifunctional area.
Apart from being used as a terrace for the busy catering facilities inside the VondelCS during the day, the plaza also serves as a venue for numerous events.