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B O R N E O S P O R E N B U R G

B O R N E O
S P O R E N B U R G
A M S T E R D A M , N E T H E R L A N D S

Theorizing the City  |  Tales of Three Cities


B O R N E O S P O R E N B U R G   A N O V E R V I E W

A waterfront settlement where it sits close by the East of the heart of Amsterdam. The
two connected docks - Borneo and Sporenburg pay close relation towards the in-
between body of ocean, IJmeer that meets by their sides, acknowledging the close
distance of several neighboring island context.
B O R N E O S P O R E N B U R G I N T R O D U C T I O N

A M A S T E R P I E C E O F P L A N N I N G
Borneo Sporenburg is a predominately residential development with 2500
housing units. Its linear parcels lie along docks and provide a waterscape as
well as streetscape. Landscape architect West 8 designed the master plan of
Borneo Sporenburg, which encompasses two large docks. It is also the first
high density development in Amsterdam with a density of 100 residential
units per hectare as the requirement.
B O R N E O S P O R E N B U R G   G E O G R A P H Y

S P O R E N B U R G

A M S T E R D A M

B O R N E O

The two penisulas of Borneo and Sporenburg, located at northeastern end of Amsterdam
docks, are tied together by a twin bridges that span across a wide basin, namely Python.
B O R N E O S P O R E N B U R G   F I G U R E G R O U N D

S O L I D A N D V O I D

The void is represented by open spaces; and its context - ocean surrounding the edges of the
islands, whereas the built form represents the private dwelling units and semi-public spaces.
B O R N E O S P O R E N B U R G   H I S T O R Y

A L O O K B A C K .

Borneo Sporenburg was first a dockland island


integrated as a trade center. The area was
formed for industrial and harbor locations
serving trades for the Hollands colonies. It later
bloomed economically, especially after being
developed as deep water harbor in 1876. The
quay was designed intendedly to be more
modern efficient into loading and unloading with
a deep water construction. However, the harbor
couldn’t sustain itself. After World War 2, it was
moved to the cities' western docklands whilst
some industries bloomed in the area which
made it less busy and disused in the 1970s.
B O R N E O S P O R E N B U R G   T H E P L A N N I N G

S P H I N X
C O N V E R S I O N
In 1996, a decision was made to convert Borneo
and Sporenburg to a high residential
neighborhood development area from an
abandoned harbor. The urban setting presented
a very high density of 100 units per hector (3
times the density of a typical sub-urban
development) along with low-rise housings
each with door openings towards the streets.

More than 100 architects and planners


contributed in the planning procedure together
with the public, creating some new typologies
and urban spaces for middle-class families. The
plan divides 3 “sculpture blocks” known as
spinix, pacman, and fountainhead, creating
crucial landmarks with certain public nodes,
such as courtyards and greenery. In fact, the
vast ocean coverage surrounding the city aids
in relation as a leading public space, open for
Amsterdam boating culture.

P A C M A N
B O R N E O S P O R E N B U R G   T H E P L A N N E R / W E S T 8

I N S P I R A T I O N
The design of low-rise housings was resulted by
West 8, which featured harmonic connections
between built and un-built forms. The planners,
West 8 got the inspiration from villages on the
former zuiderzee - a place where small houses
oriented towards water with a a pulsing relation
between the out and in-door spaces.

S E N S E O F  
D I V E R S I T Y  
West 8 gave twenty-odd architects the
same townhome envelope but allowed
each to design with minimal constraints.
The result is a streetscape of diverse,in
between integrated modern facades. Each
is unique, but they form a coherent whole.
B O R N E O S P O R E N B U R G   D E M O G R A P H I C A N D C U L T U R E

During the 1970’s the docklands were


taken over by artists, squatters, nomads,
and houseboat dwellers. They formed a
large community in the docklands.
However after the redevelopment during
1980’s, most of these squatters moved out
but the artists and houseboat dwellers
remained at the area over time.

Paying relation to its physical site context,


Borneo’s people and culture revolves their
activities by its prevailing water context
surrounding it. Boating, or rather water
recreational activities by the public nodes
are of a common sight as the integral part
of incorporating the oceans as a form of
tourist attraction, scenic beauty, or rather
a quality social and cultural destination.

W A T E R A S
A C A T A L Y S T
B O R N E O S P O R E N B U R G   E C O N O M Y

L I M I T E D
O P P O R T U N I T Y

Commercial activities in Borneo


Sporenburg are relatively lesser than
other areas because it is aimed to be a
high density suburb residential area. Due
to that, the area has high potential to
develop into a more commercial district
due to its relative low commercial activity
compared to the neighboring areas.

T H E S P H I N X / M I X E D - U S E
B O R N E O S P O R E N B U R G   U R B A N I T Y

U T O P I A
O N W A T E R

Borneo Sporenburg has successfully


developed an urban environment on the
dockland which incorporates urban
design principles and considerations into
attending the needs of the residents. The
progress of urbanization captures the
essence of being a desired quality city to
inhabit – a benchmark for a livable city.    
 
B O R N E O S P O R E N B U R G A R C H I T E C T S ' C O N C E P T S / O V E R V I E W

A R C H I T E C T S ' C O N C E P T S

1 2 3 4 5
Engaging Context Breaking Uniformity Street Identity
Sustainable
Transportation
Conserving Tradition
and Culture

6 7 8 9
Social Integration
Individuality and
Collectivity Create Livability Future Considerations
F O R M F U N C T I O N C I R C U L A T I O N

E N G A G I N G C O N T E X T

1
Adapting the vast body of oceans with means of lifestyle within the residents
B O R N E O S P O R E N B U R G   E N G A G I N G C O N T E X T / F O R M

B U I L D I N G A L O N G T H E E D G E    

The character of the buildings arranged linearly along the open path is relatable to one
another to its scale, and proportion of the buildings' volume. The linear arrangement is
set to accommodate the linear form of docklands' island. The in-between ocean stream
breaks the continuity of linear building organization to continue across the stream. 
B O R N E O S P O R E N B U R G   E N G A G I N G C O N T E X T / F U N C T I O N

F U N C T I O N A L
Z O N I N G

Public spaces like open path and park take a waterfront character through a direct visual
relation to the ocean. Private spaces like office buildings are orientated perpendicularly
towards the local context - ocean. However, some inner private spaces like institutional
building and museum which are set in between the row of houses, are enclosed and have
no visual engagement towards the ocean. 
B O R N E O S P O R E N B U R G   E N G A G I N G C O N T E X T / C I R C U L A T I O N

  F R A M I N G
V I E W S
O F O C E A N

Points subtracted in between the linear arrangement of buildings create a framing view
towards the sea instead of a dead-end wall. Through the continuous circulation that runs
in a linear manner along the docklands, the opening ends achieve a visual connectivity
with the local context – ocean. 
F O R M F U N C T I O N C I R C U L A T I O N

B R E A K I N G U N I F O R M I T Y

2
Emphasizing the break of interplay in built form to deter from being repetitive
B O R N E O S P O R E N B U R G   B R E A K I N G U N I F O R M I T Y / F O R M

F A C A D E V A R I A T I O N    

A variety of play in façade pattern designs breaks the symmetrical, repetitive and
monotonous character of the building envelope, evoking dialogues between human
walking along the in-between pathway and the buildings settled side-by-side.
B O R N E O S P O R E N B U R G   B R E A K I N G U N I F O R M I T Y / F U N C T I O N

S P A T I A L
T R A N S I T I O N

A sudden change of visual and spatial programming from private dwelling units to public
commercial building breaks the apparent uniform pattern of housing arrangement. The
emphasis towards the built form of the public building also breaks the constant visual
peripheral, affecting the harmony aspect in the sense of views and vistas.
B O R N E O S P O R E N B U R G   B R E A K I N G U N I F O R M I T Y / C I R C U L A T I O N

B R E A K O F P A T T E R N

The break of linearity in cause of the sudden placement of massive orientated commercial
blocks in between the rows of dwelling units interferes with the direct and continuous
circulation pattern of the island, creating an abrupt change in overall movement pattern
along the in-between pathway. 
F O R M F U N C T I O N C I R C U L A T I O N

S T R E E T I D E N T I T Y

3
Translating compelling distinctive character of Amsterdam into architectural elements
B O R N E O S P O R E N B U R G   S T R E E T I D E N T I T Y / F O R M

B U I L D I N G G E O M E T R Y    

Building geometrical pattern is repeated throughout, thus giving a monotonous visual as a whole.
The collective dwelling units reflect the character of the street and the adaptability of the buildings. 
B O R N E O S P O R E N B U R G   S T R E E T I D E N T I T Y / F U N C T I O N

F O C A L P O I N T    

In between the confined placement of low rise dwellings settlement and peeking
through the cone of linearity arrangement of the buildings, there stands a high rise
commercial building contradicting the monotonous character of the street. The
high rise stands as a landmark to whole, converging residents to the focal point.    
 
B O R N E O S P O R E N B U R G   S T R E E T I D E N T I T Y / C I R C U L A T I O N

A L T E R N A T I V E
F L O W

The bridge, placed in between two peninsulas, caters the


movement circulation of human in and throughout. This gives an
impression of the identity in which foot traffic is emphasized and
accessible using this way instead of vehicular transportation. 
F O R M F U N C T I O N C I R C U L A T I O N

S U S T A I N A B L E T R A N S P O R T A T I O N

4
Alternative vehicular usage, easing movement through adaptability of context
B O R N E O S P O R E N B U R G   S U S T A I N A B L E T R A N S P O R T A T I O N / F O R M

L I N E A R
U N O B S T R U C T E D
P A T H W A Y  

The linear arrangement of the street and


pathway in front of the dwelling units in relation
with the linearity of built form caters the
island’s diverse use of sustainable transportation
like walking and cycling. 
B O R N E O S P O R E N B U R G   S U S T A I N A B L E T R A N S P O R T A T I O N / F U N C T I O N

B I K E P A R K    

In between the buildings sits an open public space where it provides opportunity for
bicycle users to rest their bicycles upon this space, encouraging minimal usage of
cars for travelling purposes within the island. It is placed strategically within the
commercial and residential zone, allowing users to reach destinations with ease. 
B O R N E O S P O R E N B U R G   S U S T A I N A B L E T R A N S P O R T A T I O N / C I R C U L A T I O N

C O N T I N U O U S
M O V E M E N T

The continuity of pedestrian pathway that links every corner of the


islands, forms a smooth, continuous circulation, providing ease of
walkability for the residents. The convenience accessing along the
pathway allows and encourages sustainability through movement. 
F O R M F U N C T I O N C I R C U L A T I O N

C O N S E R V I N G T R A D I T I O N
A N D C U L T U R E

5
Preservation of traditional Dutch culture to continue its significance
B O R N E O S P O R E N B U R G   C O N S E R V I N G T R A D I T I O N & C U L T U R E / F O R M

I N H E R I T A N C E  

The slim, high and deep form of the dwelling


units reflects the restricted characters of the
traditional Dutch canal house in which its
opening is orientated towards the ocean stream,
easing their access to the water transportation.
The implementation of the form also prolongs
the continuity of historical context of
Amsterdam.
B O R N E O S P O R E N B U R G   C O N S E R V I N G T R A D I T I O N & C U L T U R E / F U N C T I O N

D O C K A D A P T I V E
R E U S E

The previous function of Borneo Sporenburg as


a trading dock is later adapted in the
redevelopment to be a stretch of residential
dockland. The original materials are conserved
and maintained by the harbor which retains the
original character of the docklands.

O R I G I N A L
M A T E R I A L S
B O R N E O S P O R E N B U R G   C O N S E R V I N G T R A D I T I O N & C U L T U R E / C I R C U L A T I O N

W A T E R
T R A N S P O R T A T I O N

Circulation of water transportation is remained by the linearity of the stream in between the
two peninsulas, leading towards the open ocean. The transition from the linear circulation to
the free form circulation on the ocean is undisturbed, thus preserving the boating culture.
F O R M F U N C T I O N C I R C U L A T I O N

S O C I A L I N T E G R A T I O N

6
Adhering social aspects and influences through urban planning 
B O R N E O S P O R E N B U R G   S O C I A L I N T E G R A T I O N / F O R M

C E N T R A L N O D E

The subtracted void in the


middle of the building creates
an emphasis of the quality
public realm of the space in
relation of the building. A
suitable open public space
achieved in contrast from the
lacking of public nodes
surrounding.
B O R N E O S P O R E N B U R G   S O C I A L I N T E G R A T I O N / F U N C T I O N

S P A T I A L I N T E G R I T Y T H R O U G H
P U B L I C F A C I L I T I E S

A variety of public facilities provided in between spaces functions as an


opportunity to cater the needs for social aspect of the residents. Adaptability
of the facilities diversifies the means of livability within the peninsulas.     
B O R N E O S P O R E N B U R G   S O C I A L I N T E G R A T I O N / C I R C U L A T I O N

S O L I D F L O W

The perpendicular linear pattern which


connects the two peninsulas bridges the
residents towards a quality social
landscape from an urban context. The
linear transitional circulation enhances
the quality of social integration within
the urban setting.  

L A N D S C A P E

U R B A N
C O N T E X T
F O R M F U N C T I O N C I R C U L A T I O N

I N D I V I D U A L I T Y A N D
C O L L E C T I V I T Y

7
Emphasizing the sequential vertical built elements through a harmonious repetitive manner 
B O R N E O S P O R E N B U R G   I N D I V I D U A L I T Y & C O L L E C T I V I T Y / F O R M

C O L L E C T I V E
H O R I Z O N T A L
A R R A N G E M E N T B R E A K O F
H O R I Z O N T A L
C O N T I N U I T Y

The horizontal stretch of dwelling units


contradicts with the desired sequential
vertical built form. Scale and proportion
of the built form is discontinued by the
placement of a mass built form in-
between the linearity as an individual
character, breaking down the collective
monotonous horizontal arrangement.

I N D I V I D U A L
V E R T I C A L
B U I L D I N G
B O R N E O S P O R E N B U R G   I N D I V I D U A L I T Y & C O L L E C T I V I T Y / F U N C T I O N

N E I G H B O R H O O D
C O N N E C T I V I T Y

A public, open-space infrastructure


is set to provide bridges, parks and
circulation space to connect the
two peninsulas as a whole. This
network of open spaces provides
public presence while contrasting
with the individuality of the private
dwelling units.
B O R N E O S P O R E N B U R G   I N D I V I D U A L I T Y & C O L L E C T I V I T Y / C I R C U L A T I O N

O N E
D I R E C T I O N

Individual linear continuous pathway in one direction throughout the edges of the island collectively
makes up the whole circulation pattern of the island – straightforward vertical movement in a
returning pattern. This will ease movement with its clear and unobstructed circulation.
F O R M F U N C T I O N C I R C U L A T I O N

C R E A T E L I V A B I L I T Y

8
To form a vital and cohesive community in achieving quality lifestyle
B O R N E O S P O R E N B U R G   C R E A T E L I V A B I L I T Y / F O R M

A V O I D
S P A C E

The interplay of built architecture and void – a diagonal green strip sits between
two buildings, forms a wide, open path that acts as a buffer realm that interlinks
residents’ culture. Thus, improving quality of life within an urban setting.
B O R N E O S P O R E N B U R G   C R E A T E L I V A B I L I T Y / F U N C T I O N

D I V E R S E
Z O N I N G

The density of public spaces


forms a diversity of spatial
programming, ranging from
recreational to educational.
The variety of activity
options allows diverse range
of ages to live together
within a community and
various social habits among
the resident population.
B O R N E O S P O R E N B U R G   C R E A T E L I V A B I L I T Y / C I R C U L A T I O N

T R A N S I T I O N A L
M O V E M E N T

The transition of circulation


from private to public is
apparent, accessing from a
private domain to public
infrastructure is immediate as
the entrance is opened directly
to the pathway. The quality of
space changes when accessing
from one realm to another.
F O R M F U N C T I O N C I R C U L A T I O N

F U T U R E C O N S I D E R A T I O N S

9
Thoughts and considerations into adaptability in an urban setting over time
B O R N E O S P O R E N B U R G   F U T U R E C O N S I D E R A T I O N S / F O R M

M O D U L A R I T Y

The efficient mix layout of different spaces within dwelling units forms
a variety of modular typology, aiding in sustaining adaptability of
various resident’s need in a dense urban context. 
B O R N E O S P O R E N B U R G   F U T U R E C O N S I D E R A T I O N S / F U N C T I O N

F L E X I B I L I T Y I N S P A T I A L U S A G E

Greater room heights are not only a desirable feature for the living units but also provide
flexibility in spatial usage, allowing future conversion into retail, restaurant, and office space.
The conversion of spatial programming creates individuality of character of each living units.   
B O R N E O S P O R E N B U R G   F U T U R E C O N S I D E R A T I O N S / C I R C U L A T I O N

P R O L O N G E D C Y C L E

The one way circulation pattern disrupts the ease of traffic improvisation - lacking of
alternative routing for convenience in vehicular circulation. The repeated stretch of streets in
between buildings prolongs the vehicular journeys throughout the island.
   
B O R N E O S P O R E N B U R G   C O N C L U S I O N

C O N C L U S I O N - T H E O R I Z I N G T H E C I T Y
E N G A G I N G C O N T E X T
The built form planning of Borneo Sporenburg engages mainly through the body of ocean and the
relation of residents’ needs in social and cultural aspect. The functional zoning is distributed along the
linear arrangement of the docklands, corresponding with the linear circulation pattern with openings of
edges in between built forms framing the view of the ocean.
   
B R E A K I N G U N I F O R M I T Y
The form of linearity is broken down through the apparent built form, creating a typology of sort with its
individuality. Noticeable play of patterns contradicts with the uniformity of the built form on the
docklands, interrupting harmony aspect of the continuity.
   
S T R E E T I D E N T I T Y
Distinctive characters are represented though the means of repetitive uniqueness that leads to the noticeable
landmark which connects the two peninsulas together, thus giving a legible diverging point to the docklands.
   
S U S T A I N A B L E T R A N S P O R T A T I O N
Integrated considerations of continuous clean unobstructed movements into catering the necessities of
alternative modes of transportation throughout the docklands, as well to ease the movement around the
docklands without reliance of vehicles.
   
B O R N E O S P O R E N B U R G   C O N C L U S I O N

C O N S E R V I N G T R A D I T I O N A N D C U L T U R E
Consideration and modesty of the prevailing presence of the pioneer built form functions as well as the
residents’ boating culture, remaining the legitimate character of the previous docklands.
   
S O C I A L I N T E G R A T I O N
Human interactions through the provided gathering spaces whilst easing connections of distant residents;
interlacing residents socially with the in-between elements of the city, such as open spaces, bridges and parks.
   
I N D I V I D U A L I T Y A N D C O L L E C T I V I T Y
Collective linear arrangements repeated with various distinctive character connected as a whole in a single direction.
   
C R E A T E L I V A B I L I T Y
Emphasizing the needs of quality in life of the residents through the plentiful spatial layout with the
convenience into circulating within a diverse neighborhood plan.
   
F U T U R E C O N S I D E R A T I O N S
Thoughts and considerations onto improving quality of life through the exploration in spatial typology in term of
modularity whilst impacts on the concept of linearity on adaptability.
   
B O R N E O S P O R E N B U R G   A N A L Y T I C A L T A B L E

A N A L Y T I C A L T A B L E

ARCHITECTS' CONCEPT FORM FUNCTION CIRCULATION


               

ENGAGING CONTEXT Building Along The Edge Functional Zoning Framing Views Of Ocean
               

BREAKING UNIFORMITY Facade Variation Spatial Transition Break Of Pattern


               

STREET IDENTITY Building Geometry Focal Point Alternative Flow


               

SUSTAINABLE Linear Unobstructed


Bike Park Continuous Movement
TRANSPORTATION Pathway
       
       

CONSERVING TRADITION Inheritance Adaptive Reuse Water Transportation


AND CULTURE            
   
B O R N E O S P O R E N B U R G   A N A L Y T I C A L T A B L E

A N A L Y T I C A L T A B L E

ARCHITECTS' CONCEPT FORM FUNCTION CIRCULATION


               
Spatial Integrity Through
SOCIAL INTEGRATION Central Node Solid Flow
Public Facilities
           
   
INDIVIDUALITY AND Break Of Horizontal Neighborhood
One Direction
COLLECTIVITY Continuity Connectivity
   
           

CREATE LIVABILITY Avoid Space Diverse Zoning Transitional Movement


               

FUTURE
Modularity Flexibility in Spatial Usage Prolonged Cycle
CONSIDERATIONS
           
   
B O R N E O S P O R E N B U R G   A N O V E R A L L C O M M E N T

The development planning of Borneo Sporenburg has successfully etch a significant


impact towards the conservative approach in the urban context by fulfilling all the
concepts stated by the architects. However, the city still misses several miniscule details
into incorporating considerations of being it flexible at certain aspects of the city.
   

P R O B L E M S , I S S U E S A N D T H O U G H T S

R I S K O F R E P E T I T I O N
The repeated, monotonous dwelling units stretches to an extent of the entire urban context. Horizontal facades
are formed instead of vertical ones, lacking its sense of individualistic character.
   
L A C K O F O P E N P U B L I C S P A C E S
Residents are seen to use streets and sidewalks as gathering areas due to the lack of public nodes. The open public
spaces available are limited to cater the needs of the residents, especially in the high dense neighborhood.   

L A C K O F M I X E D L A N D U S E

The lack of mixed land use contradicts with the concept of implementing sustainable transportation into the
neighborhood. Residents are relied on owning vehicles to reach facilities that are not offered in this development.    
D A N K J E !

T H A N K Y O U I N
D U T C H L A N G U A G E

A G R O U P E F F O R T B Y

Chee Jia Xin


Chifundo Sapuwa
Eric Lo Yann Shin
Kalvin Bong Jia Ying
Kang Zi Shan
Kennett Lim Roong Xiang
Lee Shi Yin
Tan Wei Sen
Ting Xiao Yao
R E F E R E N C E S

Kcap.eu. (2018). Visuals - Borneo Sporenburg - Projects - KCAP. [online] Available at: https://www.kcap.eu/en/projects/v/borneo_sporenburg/
[Accessed 1 May 2018].

8, W. (2018). Borneo-Sporenburg. [online] West 8. Available at: http://www.west8.com/projects/urban_design/borneo_sporenburg [Accessed 2


May 2018].

KAAN Architecten. (2018). Borneo Sporenburg - KAAN Architecten. [online] Available at: http://kaanarchitecten.com/project/borneo-sporenburg/
[Accessed 1 May 2018].

WikiArquitectura. (2018). Two houses in Borneo Sporenburg - Data, Photos & Plans - WikiArquitectura. [online] Available at:
https://en.wikiarquitectura.com/building/two-houses-in-borneo-sporenburg/ [Accessed 3 May 2018].

Green Prize 7, (September 2006) Residential Waterfront, Borneo Sporenburg, Amsterdam


Geuze, A, (n.d.) West 8 urban design & landscape architecture, The Seventh Veronica Rudge Green Prize in Urban Design

West 8. (n.d.). Borneo-Sporenburg. Retrieved from http://www.west8.com/projects/urban_design/borneo_sporenburg

D. (1970, January 01). Urban theory Borneo Sporenburg masterplan. Retrieved from http://urbantheorywest8amsterdam.blogspot.my/

Introduction. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://courses.umass.edu/latour/Netherlands/livingstone/index.html

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