A beautiful and ambitious plan envisioned a rigorous change: a parking lot besides a busy road was to be transformed into a park, right in the middle of central Apeldoorn. It required the construction of an underground parking garage, a low-traffic area, new bicycle paths and a prominent role for the local brook, The Grift, that after a long time was to be brought above ground again.

OKRA landscape architects designed a city park, the Catherina Amalia Park, that adds a green gateway to the inner city and creates a space to meet and mingle for different groups of residents and visitors. Under this city park in Apeldoorn, architectural studio ZJA designed a two-story parking garage with a capacity for 240 cars. During the weekends the garage is entirely accessible for public use, during the working week half of the slots are claimed by employees of the nearby land registry office.

A charming parking garage

Basic principle for the design by ZJA was a maximum integration of the structure into the green environment of the park. Entrance and exit are hidden in a gentle slope covered with greenery. The pavilion with pedestrian entrance is situated right in front of the path crossing the restored brook and has a light and simple look. Two staircases cross each other in opposite directions in this transparent structure, that is painted in subdued colours to merge with its surroundings. Grasses and small trees are planted on the roof of the garage.

Whereas the upper world is green, the underground world of the parking garage is a radiant red. The garage has a simple rectangular shape, with every care taken to enhance a sense of overview, safety and clarity. There are no dark corners, no technical installations that obstruct the view. This space offers a maximum in clarity achieved by minimizing the number of columns. That was possible due to a smartly designed very light roof structure, consisting among other elements of a layer of polystyrene foam. Another remarkable feature is the absence of visible rafters and ventilation systems. Cables and ducting are also kept out of view. The ceilings are smooth and white. All these elements together provide a spacious effect, which, in combination with the bright colours, the undulating walls and the strong indirect LED lighting creates a safe and yes, even a cheerful atmosphere.

Clear graphic means are applied to help easy wayfinding: ceilings are smooth and white, lanes grey, walls red. There is ample lighting for all parking slots. The combination of the powerful red colour and the wave pattern in the walls offer a regular but fascinating optical effect. Pictograms and arrows are blown up to XXL size for a playful touch.

A new park

The idea behind the Catherina Amalia Park is the rudimentary simulation of a small valley that is typical of the surrounding region (Veluwe), with its gentle slopes and slightly deepened paths. This layout enhances the impression of crossing a vast green area. The flowing brook that is brought to the surface once again is made wider in the middle of the park between banks of natural stone. It creates a pond with an angular bend. A bicycle path cuts through the park alongside a central crossing to guide pedestrians to and from the entrance of the garage.

The parking garage Brinklaan fits seamlessly into the Catherina Amalia Park with its flowing brook, completely covered by green as it is. It is designed for easy access and offers a comfortable and pleasant space to leave your car behind and explore the inner city of foot.

Architect: ZJA
Client: Municipality of Apeldoorn
Landscape architect: OKRA Landschapsarchitecten
Aannemer: BAM Utliliteitsbouw
W&E advisor: Nelissen Ingenieursbureau
Advisor construction: Bartels Ingenieurs
Advisor cofferdam: Witteveen+Bos
Year: 2013

Project: #382