De Nieuwe Ooster Amsterdam | Karres en Brands

• April 1, 2011

In Amsterdam, De Nieuwe Ooster Amsterdam is the restoration project designed by Karres en Brands landschapsarchitecten, it is the largest cemetery in The Netherlands.

Rather than connecting the three different zones spatially, we believe each zone should be given its own identity. Enhancing the contrasts will create a clear partition into three areas, thereby emphasizing the qualities of each individual part.

Karres en Brands

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Zone of Parallel Lines in the second extension, drawing courtesy Karres en Brands

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Zoning plan for second extension - Section 65 & 87, drawing courtesy Karres en Brands

The site:

De Nieuwe Ooster cemetery and crematorium in Amsterdam is by far the largest cemetery in the Netherlands. Measuring 33 Ha and containing over 28,000 graves, it was built in three phases, in 1889, 1915 and 1928. In the 117 years of its existence, it has undergone many changes. In 2001 a process of renovation and transformation process was started. Since 2003 it has been a national monument.

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Aerial view of section 87 of De Nieuwe Ooster cemetery, image courtesy Karres en Brands

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Aerial view of section 65 of De Nieuwe Ooster cemetery, image courtesy Karres en Brands

Introduction:

Cemeteries have always been mirrors of society, representing social relations, burial practices and the relationship between the collective and the individual, not to mention prevailing ideas on nature and developments in design and landscape architecture. For all these reasons, the design for the new cineraria in De Nieuwe Ooster cemetery was not an isolated exercise: it required a clear spatial intervention, linked to a vision of how people currently approach bereavement, burial and reminiscence.

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Seating area in Columbarium, image courtesy Karres en Brands | photo by Jeroen Musch

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Interior of the Columbarium, image courtesy Karres en Brands | photo by Jeroen Musch

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De Nieuwe Ooster Amsterdam - Design Columbarium, top view and section, drawing courtesy Karres en Brands

Concept

Rather than connecting the three different zones spatially, we believe each zone should be given its own identity. Enhancing the contrasts will create a clear partition into three areas, thereby emphasizing the qualities of each individual part.

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Strong parallel line with a special element: the pond, image courtesy Karres en Brands | photo by Thyra Brandt

For the second extension, which lacks a single unifying quality, a new identity must be created. This will involve an intervention that is bold but relatively easy to implement. The new spatial structure of this zone shall accommodate the existing burial areas as well as create a framework for the necessary extension. Society becomes less hierarchical and more individualistic: everyone wants to be buried along Springer’s curving path. People also have more divergent opinions, ideas and wishes.

De Nieuwe Ooster cemetery intends to meet such demands. There is thus a clear demand for diversity and to meet individual wishes within an informal spatial structure in which everyone can lie along the path.

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Pond with Charons and water lilies, image courtesy Karres en Brands | photo by Jeroen Musch

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Small bridge, made of terrazzoconcrete, over pond, image courtesy Karres en Brands

The vision for this zone represents new developments within a new linear structure. Overall, the zone is underlain by parallel strips of various widths and design principles. Some strips contain hedges that divide the zone into spatial compartments. The columbarium and the pond are special zones in this area. The existing burial areas and the garden of remembrance, are incorporated within the zone as compartments with green edges. Silver birches are spread loosely throughout the zone.

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Burial chambers in section 65 in wintertime, image courtesy Karres en Brands | photo by Jeroen Musch

Section 65 is also part of the second extension. For this section, a design was made for general burial chambers in which five coffins can be placed one above the other. Burial rights expire after ten years.

The design for section 65 fits within the vision for the strips created by the parallel lines. Most of the existing boundary will be retained. The burial chambers will be constructed in long lines, one behind the other, their cover slabs raised slightly above ground level. Within a uniform spatial structure, the covers can be used for the expression of diversity and individual wishes: they contain recesses in which memorial tablets can be laid. The second will follow in 2009.

+ Project credit / data

Project: De Nieuwe Ooster Amsterdam (Cemetery Nieuwe Ooster)
Location: Watergraafsmeer, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Budget: € 1.600.000,-
Design: 2004 – 2006
Construction: 2005 – 2006
Surface area: 2 hectare

Landscape architect: Karres en Brands landschapsarchitecten | http://www.karresenbrands.nl/
Client: De Nieuwe Ooster begraafplaats, crematorium en gedenkpark
Design Team: Karres en Brands landschapsarchitecten (Sylvia Karres, Bart Brands, Lieneke van Campen, Joost de Natris, James Melsom, Marc Springer, Monika Popczyk, Pierre-Alexandre Marchevet, Julien Merle, Jim Navarro)
Construction: ROD’OR advies
Photographers: Jeroen Musch, KB , Thyra Brandt, Peter Zoech

Awards:
Topos-Award
2nd prize Torsoloranzo Award
1st prize Rheinzink Award
Finalist Rosa Barba European Landscape Prize

+ All images and drawings courtesy Karres en Brands landschapsarchitecten | Photo by Jeroen Musch, KB , Thyra Brandt, Peter Zoech

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Category: Landscape, Selected

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