No fewer that 70 different open green spaces will be created in Bajeskwartier. There will be vegetable gardens, water gardens, pick-your-own gardens, playgrounds and playing fields. Bajeskwartier will retain the urban plan of the prison, with a long, central path along which the residential buildings will be situated. Between the buildings, where the exercise yards used to be, all kinds of attractive gardens and water features will be laid out. The central linking road, formerly known as ‘Kalverstraat’, will become a green boulevard for walkers and cyclists. Cars will not be allowed in and parking solutions will be underground to leave the space above ground for all that greenery. The district has been laid out in such a way that it invites residents and visitors to be physically active. The public gardens are linked to each other and open to everyone for gardening, playing, jogging, relaxation or a picnic.
The designer of this garden landscape is LOLA Landscape. The landscape designers have worked closely with the architects to produce an integrated design for the entire district. The buildings and the landscape merge together seamlessly and the roof terraces have also been included in the design. LOLA wanted to reflect the atmosphere of the country estates of rich Amsterdammers that used to be found here. With all kinds of vibes and different and zones in which to wander and relax. But the atmosphere of the prison is still recognizable: in several places, concrete slabs from the prison blocks have been reused as benches, the bars as fences and cell doors as parts of bridges, keeping the history of the place alive for the future.
Good for people and animals
We know that people live healthier and happier lives when they are surrounded by nature, with clean air and plenty of space in which to move and relax. The garden landscape reflects this perfectly. But animals must also feel welcome in Bajeskwartier. The natural environment is under pressure and it is extremely important to strengthen ecological structures in the city. Bajeskwartier is expanding the habitat of all kinds of animals and provides ample sources of food and places to shelter, so increasing biodiversity. Bajeskwartier is designed to include nature, making space in the design for animals and nature. The gardens will be planted with native species that contribute to creating a healthy natural environment in the city of Amsterdam. Around the former prison walls, plants will grow and there will be nest boxes for animals and birds.