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Biceps, redesign shunting yard Amersfoort

Part 2 Project 2002
Ingeborg Thoral
Ashling Geraghty
The Amsterdam School of The Arts Amsterdam The Netherlands
BICEPS is a scheme to redevelop an old marshalling yard and a depot workshop in the centre of Amersfoort. It is inspired by the ambience on site: the presence of trains, tracks and railway noises in the town are a central feature of the scheme, and have incited a new reading of the place. Consequently the proposed layout is the very opposite of most plans, aimed as these are at maximizing the yield.

At the scale of the town, birches growing between the rails present a new leisure park for Amersfoort. The green wedge forges a recreational link between the town centre and its outer greenspace. Here a daring mixture of urban recreational programme in the old sheds is supplemented.
At the scale of the place, small and precise interventions are proposed. Nomadic dwellings in the marshalling yard offer a great deal of freedom to their inhabitants and enhance the already exceptional ambience of the site.
On the edge of the grounds large residential sheds accommodating a wide range of use forms and dwelling typologies contrast with the adjacent residential quarter and with the long strips of nomadic units.

A new dynamic has been added to the 17-hour town of dwelling, work and recreation. The railway tracks can carry mobile carriage homes, a new type of camping which has the potential to expand into a European network of marshalling yard campsites. They present new lines of movement. Overall, it makes for a special place in the town – public and vibrant.

Ingeborg Thoral
Ashling Geraghty


The urban design BICEPS by gives an unconventional and intriging alternative to the development of generic office-cities around the train stations of every mediumsized city in the Netherlands. By exploring the spirit of the old shunting yard in Amersfoort the design adds a new layer in history instead of fabricating a new one. The existing railyard landscape is used to give the site a new meaning for the city.

The project is a personal quest to different fascinations like the emptiness, endlessness, movement, polarity and the unpleasant but attractive feeling the site gives you. The outcome of this quest is a rich design with several layers. Each layer gives the site a new role; in the city, on the local housing market, in leisure and maybe even a new position in Europe along a recreatively used railnetwork. Together these layers create a new part of the city that is not only driven by commerce and efficiency, but connects the memory of the site with a new meaning for the future.

BICEPS also shows how a personal and intuitive design approach can be translated into a professional and powerful urban plan with a perfect eye for details. The proposals for the use of materials, the treatment of polluted soil, the ideas for environmental issues such as solarenergy and rainwater storage, the few but essential buildingrules (etc.) all play an important role in the urban design. BICEPS is a wonderfull chance for Amersfoort to add an unique urban quality to the city!

2002
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