The completion of Westbeat adds a dynamic new link in the public space network of Amsterdam. Westbeat is a multipurpose complex, a new hotspot in Nieuw West, an upcoming neighbourhood. Functioning as a hub for young, global citizens, Westbeat combines entrepreneurship with affordable housing and a shared superspace at its heart. This public base merges hospitality and event space, workspaces and workshops in one continuous, sculptural volume. Above, the 150 starters’ apartments are organised around a shared courtyard. This residential development for the younger segment appears as an eye-catcher on a prominent site at the crossroads of infrastructure.
We created a lively destination and pioneering project grounded in Nieuw West that integrates architecture, programme and people. The diverse users and the crossovers between their activities ensure a lively atmosphere round the clock. As a dynamic neighbourhood activator and connector, Westbeat sets the tone for future projects to come.
Westbeat features a public base composed of 86 arches that shape a network of inviting, shared open spaces. Measuring 65 x 50 metres and 8.5 metres high, this superspace literally and metaphorically elevates Westbeat to become a distinguished destination in the city’s densifying urban periphery. The sculptural, high arches in the superspace shape a network of continuous open spaces that can be flexibly used, which allows the building’s functions to evolve over time.
A visual and spatial translation of Westbeat’s ambitious social and cultural programme.
The graceful arched spaces of Westbeat set 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.
For Westbeat to become a social destination, the architecture needs to make a mark: such a vast arched public space creates the ‘wow’ factor we imagined.
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 the superspace. Generous arches in the facade frame and highlight the cultural activities within, with the largest arches positioned at the corner as an inviting gesture on this prominent address.
Westbeat has high ambitions. It marks the ‘Leap over the Ring’ (beyond the A10 highway), bridges the height differences on site with new pedestrian routes through the building and acts as a noise and traffic barrier using sound-dampening facades and green galleries. From a social perspective, Westbeat focuses on young urban residents and the supports the entrepreneurial and creative spirit of this emerging neighbourhood. In collaboration with the first occupants, Studioninedots will design their part of the interior of the superspace.
At this busy location, Studioninedots envisioned Westbeat as a catalyst for meeting, exchange and connection. The practice 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 experiment, for excitement and wonder, and address both a fascination and societal needs. With this, Studioninedots recognises a renewed desire for physical places that appeal to our imaginations and are therefore essential for a high quality of urban life.