“Business park.” Chances are (especially if you are from North America) this immediately conjures up an image for you: low slung concrete slabs of the most unimaginative type* in a sea of pavement with, if lucky, a modicum of dying grass (about as far from a park as possible). Most towns and cities have them, tucked away here and there and not a place you’d want to be in, even if you have to be there.
The video below is not really about architecture; it’s main focus is on transportation. But I couldn’t stop from ogling the buildings in this business park. Because they are actually designed and intended as architecture rather than just the cheapest container for collecting rent money (and if it keeps the rain off then that’s a bonus). Rather than being soul crushing this area is pleasant and even delightful to be in. And walkable to boot!
To be fair, this might be considered more of a commercial district than a business park, as it seems to be filled with larger companies than the tiny affairs that usually occupy the North American business park. But there’s a similar district of that sort to where I live, with some very large companies indeed, filled with 4-6 story buildings, and even those are not as engaging** as the ones there in Amsterdam. Not to mention the interstitial “landscape” is nothing short of a scorched earth no man’s land that very clearly says that you do not matter.
Great video by Not Just Bikes, and a great example that architecture and design is possible and preferable everywhere, making for spaces that enliven us rather than be something we need to overcome. Just to do business.
* It’s such a cliché that a raze-and-rebuild development here braded themselves as notanotherbox.com as part of their advertising strategy. The resulting building is quite certainly not a box, and is almost as nice as some of the ones in the video.
** This is one thing I’ve been excited to see travelling abroad: a higher “baseline design quality” when compared to North America. One, agan, that says “life is important, we should make it great for us!” rather than, again again, “sorry, you do not matter.”
*** I heartily recommend all of Not Just Bikes’ videos. They’re fun and well put together and really do a great job to show what’s possible when we remember us humans in our urban design, and how much life is better when we do.