Amstel III

Architects have been coming up with numerous design and transformation solutions for vacant office buildings, following the national political debate around structural vacancy in the Netherlands. But while spatial strategies are no doubt part of the solution, the problem is mainly financial.

Property owners are primarily concerned with the large difference between an office building’s book value and its market value, or, put another way, the imbalance between, real value and virtual value. However, they cannot devalue or demolish their (young) property, since this would drastically harm their financial prospects, their market position and their credibility. With the scattered ownership in Amstel III and no one willing to take this loss, each party is waiting for the other to act, creating a deadlock situation. Their only way out of this situation is to collaborate and share in the loss.

The first step required to improve Amstel III is to create property trusts in which owners become shareholders and all loss and profits are equally shared (based on their property value). This allows a reorganization of current tenants to concentrate occupancy within the most recent and up to date buildings in the district. The "bad apples" in the area can be emptied, and opened up to new initiatives. Each stakeholder in the trust takes a small loss at first but will eventually fully profit from the improved, more settled climate for tenants, both residential and commercial.

In a well-written text the participants make it clear that an approach that focuses on the financial position of the property owners is well worth consideration.”
— Jury Assessment

Plinths and blocks
The design opens up the plinths to attract public functions. Meanwhile, it introduces a mixed program of lunchrooms, supermarkets and coffee bars in order to liven up normal office routine. After that, it also adds residential buildings, giving the area a human scale and creating a microcosm that is suitable for living.

Decks and Hackerspace
Most blocks contain an elevated public or collective space that hosts recreational activities. A place to relax or interact, while simultaneously providing access to the surrounding housing units. The design will transform the empty office buildings into hacker spaces for creative minds



European competition