A place for relaxing, working outdoors, holding a small-scale event or doing sports. The new town square between The Base and the new Hilton Amsterdam Airport Schiphol Hotel will soon be more than just a square. It’s a fine example of placemaking in the Schiphol Central Business District.
One of the sources of inspiration for Schiphol Real Estate, owner and developer of Schiphol CBD, is Chiswick Park. This inspiring business park on the edge of London is more than just a collection of buildings with strategically positioned green elements. It’s a dynamic business community with sports facilities, cafés and events such as an annual firework show and an urban beach. ‘Enjoy work’ is the motto of Chiswick Park. And as we know, if you enjoy your work then you perform better. So a pleasant working environment is important for both employees and their employer.
This is a fine example of ‘placemaking’, a new way of designing public spaces. While the focus used to be on tangible results such as stones, bushes and bodies of water, placemaking puts the users of the space at the centre of the concept.
Property and area developer Pieter van der Horst of Schiphol Real Estate points to the shared lunch facilities in The Base as a good example. “Just as at Chiswick Park, we are creating an urban atmosphere at Schiphol CBD. This also includes seemingly non-functional spaces where people can meet and come together. The Atrium of The Base is a nice example of this: it’s a dynamic location where all kinds of things can and do happen.”
Of course, the surroundings are not the only aspect to create the dynamic atmosphere of Schiphol CBD. “Although they certainly make a great contribution. We have buildings of different heights, a high street, and now we’re getting a square as well. This will feature art, outdoor workspaces, an amphitheatre, outdoor fitness equipment, decorative lighting on columns and even swings. But what’s just as important is the people who occupy these spaces. The Schiphol SPOT community helps us here. This is an online platform where everyone working at Schiphol can present activities and share knowledge and experiences. So it’s up to us to support these developments in public space. From April 2016 onward the new city square at Schiphol CBD can play a role in this process.”