OMA and FABRICations Win Competition to Transform Former Prison Complex in Amsterdam


Image by Robota, Courtesy OMA

Image by Robota, Courtesy OMA

The team of OMA and FABRICations in collaboration with LOLA landscape architects has been selected as the winners of a competition to transform a former prison complex in Amsterdam into a 135,000-square-meter mixed-use development. Located in southeastern Amsterdam, Bijlmerbajes has been seen as a distant landmark for the city since its construction in the 1970s. But with recent expansions, the once peripheral site has moved to the center of new urban development, making the property prime location for redevelopment.


Image by Robota, Courtesy OMA

Image by Robota, Courtesy OMA

The 7.5 hectare site will undergo a reorganization following a master plan that preserves the “island character” of the existing complex yet links the renovated and new structures through a series of pedestrian and cycle bridges. The “Bajes Kwartier,” as it will be known, has been envisioned as a primarily car-free environment.


Image by Robota, Courtesy OMA

Image by Robota, Courtesy OMA

© OMA + FABRICations

© OMA + FABRICations

Courtesy of rijksvastgoedbedrijf

Courtesy of rijksvastgoedbedrijf

The development will offer approximately 1,350 residential units, ranging from rentals to luxury condominiums, with 30 percent designated as affordable housing. Five of the six prison towers will be demolished and replaced – the remaining will be preserved as a ‘green tower’ containing a vertical park and urban farming plots. The former central prison building will also be retained as a central design and arts center. Other spaces include a restaurant, a health center, a school, a series of parks and water features, and an underground parking lot.


Image by Robota, Courtesy OMA

Image by Robota, Courtesy OMA

All buildings in the new district are designed to be completely energy-neutral, utilizing high r-value insulation and producing energy through solar panels, wind turbines and an organic waste decomposition system. In addition, the plan calls for the reuse or recycling of 98 percent of existing building material, manifested in some unique design solutions.

“Reuse of building materials is a key part of the redevelopment plans: prefab elements from the existing walls are to be reused as cladding for new residential buildings, prison bars will be used as balustrades, and the cell doors are to become edge panels for the new pedestrian bridges,” explain OMA.


© OMA + FABRICations

© OMA + FABRICations

An aerial photo of the complex as it exists today. Image © Marco van Middelkoop / Aerophoto-Schiphol

An aerial photo of the complex as it exists today. Image © Marco van Middelkoop / Aerophoto-Schiphol

To facilitate the project, the site will be sold by the Dutch government’s Rijksvastgoedbedrijf to a team of developers led by AM Real Estate. Construction is scheduled to begin in early 2018. 

News via OMA, Rijksvastgoedbedrijf.


Courtesy of rijksvastgoedbedrijf

Courtesy of rijksvastgoedbedrijf

Courtesy of rijksvastgoedbedrijf

Courtesy of rijksvastgoedbedrijf

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