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Almere Centrum was built to an OMA masterplan with individual buildings designed by architects from across Europe. The shops and associated facilities, however, have struggled and locals reported that they found the area bleak and unwelcoming. There was insufficient light in the evenings and a particular problem with high wind – which was channelled in from the adjoining lake through the corridors of shops and housing – forming eddies at the bases of the higher buildings.
DunnettCraven was asked to lead a multi-disciplinary team to address these issues. After much consultation with local residents, glazed canopies were introduced to mitigate the wind problems with perforations to allow trees to grow through them and soften the environment for the apartments above. On the ground, a freestanding commercial building was removed and planting, seating and enhanced lighting introduced. Outdoor terraces were provided for the restaurants and a new signage and wayfinding system introduced for the entire area. Carefully phased over a period of three years, the project has now been completed, encouraging people back into the area.