Parking under a canal creates space on the street


There was little room for plants, cyclists and pedestrians in the narrow streets of De Pijp neighborhood in Amsterdam. Moreover, the parking pressure was high, resulting in a considerable amount of search traffic. To increase the quality of life in the neighborhood and to make better use of the scarce public space, the Albert Cuyp underwater parking garage designed by ZJA Zwarts & Jansma Architects was inaugurated in 2018. The creation of 600 underground parking spaces has allowed, the same amount to be removed above ground in the Frans Hals neighborhood in De Pijp, providing more room for public space, plants and tranquility in the neighborhood.

The municipality of Amsterdam is aiming for a car-free city with not only more room for public space, but also sufficient space for relaxation, planting and safe places for children to play. The construction of a parking garage under a canal is in line with this ambition. An underwater garage takes up little space on street level and is therefore a smart solution for the growing shortage of public space in the city.

The future

It will be quite a while before a theater, cinema or shopping center is built under a canal in Amsterdam, but the Albert Cuyp parking garage proves that it is possible to construct a substantial underground parking facility beneath a waterway, in a former peat bog in the middle of a densely populated area. With the construction of the underground Albert Cuyp parking garage, a possible realization of AMFORA, an urban expansion under the canals, is one step closer.

The current new refurbishment of the Frans Hals neighborhood is a provisional design. Next year the municipality of Amsterdam will commence the final refurbishment of the first streets in the Frans Hals neighborhood.

Photographs Thomas Schlijper and Jeroen Musch, visual ZJA.



Albert Cuyp underwater parking garage, Amsterdam

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