NDSM Art City is a succesful example of how a bottom up initiative of local creatives, alternative groups and artists, revitalised an abandoned industrial area in the northern part of Amsterdam. Today the area is a vibrant part of the city where establishment co-exists with the more experimental creative class. Here you find good restaurants, a hotel in a hoisting crane, headquarters of leading companies and organisations next to vintage markets, festivals, temporary events and structures, workshops and ateliers.
The creative heart of the area; NDSM Art CIty, is to be found inside and around the former ship assembly hall, the monumental NDSM loods, where seven years ago creatives started to build their own studios and workspaces. Utrecht based Dynamo Architects designed a steel and concrete casco, providing a gridstructure with basic utilities. The grid is cut diagonally which makes a reference to a real city like Barcelona or New York, just to mention a few famous examples. The bare structure was devided in lots and completed by the inhabitants of Art City; photographers, theatregroups, filmmakers, architects, artists, designers and more. The result is a stunning unity in diversity with exeptional shapes where the diagonal cuts through. Each individual studio has it’s own appearance, color, amount of windows, expression and texture.
The raw industrial atmosphere is still left untouched at Art City, keeping it’s history alive and tangible. Due to the economic recession the area has developed slowly. Let’s hope that planners, the city council and investors will cherish and respect this raw unfinished and undefined character in the future. These may just be the most precious qualities of the NDSM area, leaving space for experiment, dreams and imagination, unexpected encounters and innovation.