In order to increase livability, Amsterdam is thinking about building an underground city. The plans for the AMFORA project were recently revealed at the International Congress “Underground Space Challenges in Urban Development” in Amsterdam. The architects Zwartz & Jansma supplied interesting renderings of the project.
AMFORA – which stands for “Alternatieve Multifunctionele Ondirgrondse Ruimte Amsterdam” – is a 14.4 billion USD-project, that aims to create a vast underground mixed-used complex beneath the city’s canals and streets. The provided spaces are supposed to include parking garages in the first place, further sports facilities, cinemas, shopping areas, and supply facilities such as cables and ducts.
Along Amsterdam’s A10 ring road the underground spaces are planned to get access from different entry and exit points, situated partially in the existing aboveground buildings, or as part of a fine-meshed network of ramps. World Architecture News quoted one of the planners, Professor Moshé Zwarts, by reporting that the primary objective of the scheme was the removal of cars from the canal-side streets by providing vast underground parking facilities. Engineers Strukton added: “It is both feasible and sustainable, creating a city beneath the city is not futuristic, it is a necessity in this day and age.” In addition, the planners explained their project as follows: AMFORA is a plan for the improvement of the living environment, without this improvement being at the expense of accessibility: a system of spaces belowthe existing canals. Those spaces can not only be used to accommodate parking places, but also shops, sports halls, cinemas, storage rooms, storage of archives, room for cables and piping/ducts, etcetera. The possibilities are endless. AMFORA is ‘a city under the city’. A plan that arises from the possibilities of underground building and will lead to great improvements with regard to the livability of the city ‘aboveground’. The plan renders environmental zones superfluous and turns traffic versus environment and livability into a win-win situation. Moreover, the underground spaces create space aboveground for economic activities and enlivenment of the street scene. A part of the aboveground transport space is taken underground. Construction work is expected to begin in 2018, and have a duration of approximately 10 years, in case the plan is approved.