From industrial site to qualitative living- working area


From industrial site to qualitative living- working area

The Hamerkwartier is a qualitative urban redevelopment project. The industrial area in Amsterdam Noord will naturally phased transform into a vibrant living and working environment, where living and working is combined with attractive public space. The transformation project is exceptional as the existing production industry and creative businesses are to be preserved and repositioned within the district.

The municipality of Amsterdam defined ambitions, starting points and guidelines for the transformation in an urban development plan. This led to the so-called typological ‘Hamerblock’, a composite building block in which residences and working spaces are placed in a landscape of production halls. The roof of these halls will be designed as a communal garden.

As expert in the field of transformation, architecture and urbanism, Mei was approached by the municipality to contribute to the development of the plan and the urban guidelines, in order to bring it to the next level. Within this project Mei works both on the level of the city as on the level of the users. Besides Mei also Workshop Architects, Civic Architects and Beta office were approached to co-operate.

Mixed programme and mixed scale levels

The development of the Hamerkwartier is a complex project in which working, living and live collide. The existing activities and production industry in the area is to be preserved and building blocks of living and working will alternate within the production halls. Focused upon the users and the desired programme Mei developed, within the urban guidelines, a design approach for the Hamerkwartier based on four principles: phasing, block street, bicycle vide, living-working homes.


The current Hamerkwartier has a complicated ownership structure, with various owners. Mei researched how the area can be developed within this structure, so it can continue to function qualitatively during the transformation. Due to the natural phasing current owners do not directly have to participate in the transformation. As a result the duration and phasing of the project are not fixed.

Block street

To access the building blocks and provide them with plenty daylight and space a secondary infrastructure is proposed in the urban development plan. By designing these new logistic streets into characteristic and attractive public spaces, it becomes possible to mix living, working and logistics on a smaller scale.

Bicycle vide

The higher buildings in the Hamerkwartier will recline from the streets, to gain both daylight and space. This causes the entrance areas to become deep and dark spaces. Mei proposes a ‘Bicycle vide’ as solution. A compact way to park bicycles in a space with transparent walls. This allows daylight to enter the building and adds quality to the deeper located building functions.

Living-working homes

The urban development plan emphasizes the development of a mixed living working area with mainly large production halls. Mei proposes to add a smaller scale of living-working homes as a typology. Making space for (growing) start-ups and small businesses in combination with living, will create an attractive and vibrant activity on street level.