The redevelopment of AmsterdamÂ's Oostelijk Havengebied, the Eastern
Docklands area, has recently become a focus for visiting architects and urban planners, students and interested tourists.
The redevelopment of the areaÂ's various islands is regarded as a model for innovative and successful design by professionals and enthusiasts from far and wide. As the Port of AmsterdamÂ's activities shifted westward during the 1950s the area fell into
decay, but innovative residential, artistic and commercial projects soon started to discover the latent potential of the industrial wastelands.
The artificial peninsulas that were built between 1874 and 1927 for port activities were filled with quayside warehouses. These have now been converted for new uses, commercial and residential, and other spaces have been filled in with innovative projects by top Dutch and international architects. Though each section of this Â'island kingdomÂ' has its distinctive features, the overall orchestration was in the hands of urban planner Ton Schaap of the City of AmsterdamÂ's Physical Planning Department (dRO) and a local resident himself.
Three of the most notable projects are the enormous Â'PiraeusÂ' housing complex on the KNSM Island designed by German architects Hans Kolhoff and Christian Rapp in 1993, Â'The WhaleÂ'(2001) on Sporenburg Island designed by Frits van Dongen of de Architecten Cie, and the rows of Â'self-buildÂ' plots on the Borneo Island and Java Island, completed by various architects to ownersÂ' specifications between 1997 and 2001.
The interest shown in the redevelopment was the stimulus for creating the information-packed Â'Architectural Map: Eastern Docklands AmsterdamÂ' with texts in Dutch and English, produced by ARCAM, the Amsterdam Centre for Architecture. With map in hand, you can now take your own leisurely tour of the areaÂ's surprising architecture, public space and public art, and in order that it doesnÂ't become outdated, it also pinpoints projects yet to be built, such as the Muziek Gebouw by Nielsen, Nielsen & Nielsen, a new cultural hub to accommodate the IJsbreker centre for new music and the Bimhuis jazz institution to be completed in 2004.