‘Reusing properties is the epitome of circularity’

Eva Hekkenberg

‘I can’t wait to see the delivery of the Bajes Kwartier project and feel the intensity of its renewed energy’, admits AM’s Project Director Eva Hekkenberg (41). ‘The one thing I’m most looking forward to is the green tower, as this has everything that the Bajes Kwartier represents: a green, sustainable and healthy lifestyle.’

Prison bars and ropes from the gym

AM is developing a new city district on the grounds of Bijlmerbajes, Amsterdam’s former penitentiary. ‘This project aims very high with respect to sustainability,’ says Eva. All buildings will be 100% energy neutral and 98% of all materials from the prison buildings will be re-used. The main building, the church and one of the prison towers will remain and see a transformative overhaul. Eva: ‘Reusing existing properties is the epitome of circularity.’

‘At the moment we are harvesting materials,’ says Eva. The project team is developing the draft design together with a team of seven architects. ‘Each of the architects was invited to list materials they would like to reuse. One asked for 100 prison bars and another wanted all the ropes from the gym. I can’t wait to see what they are planning to do with those. Some of the plans we’ve seen already involve the reuse of façade elements in the pavement and building bridges from cell doors.’

A team that embraces circularity

‘Putting reuse of materials at the heart of our plans means that this project is unlike any other development,’ says Eva. ‘We found out that the old concrete wasn’t suitable for reuse as granulate for new concrete. And the best thing about this project is that we have a team that has so wholeheartedly embraced the idea of circularity that we’re continuing the search for other ways to reuse this concrete.’

‘In this project we are also working with design managers from BAM Advies & Engineering, and BAM Bouw en Techniek are involved as our consultants, as we’d much rather work with original BAM knowledge than depend on external sources,’ explains Eva. ‘My advice to colleagues across the organisation: keep building your Group-wide network, so you can see the extent of the expertise we’ve accumulated within BAM.’