Urban Beads by MVRDV



Dutch architects MVRDV have unveiled designs for a new urban neighbourhood at Almere near Amsterdam, based on a string of beads.


The development, for the Olympiakwartier area of Almere, will feature nine urban blocks composed of a variety of different building types that the architects compare to beads on a string.


Here's some info from MVRDV:


MVRDV presents ‘urban beads’ for Almere, Netherlands

(Rotterdam, September 12, 2008) In the larger context of the presentation of the new Almere Port area, Dutch housing association Stadgenoot and the city of Almere presented the MVRDV project for Olympiakwartier, introducing an ambitious new urban density and variety into the fast growing city near Amsterdam. MVRDV is architect for a part of the new development.


Almere, founded in 1984 on reclaimed land, is growing fast into becoming the fifth largest city of the Netherlands. After realizing a new city centre Almere now is building a new urban neighborhood “Olympiakwartier”, at its Western border close to Amsterdam, which will introduce urban density.

MVRDV will design a series of different elements that will be used to compose nine dense urban blocks. The elements will achieve great variety in design and function and will be accompanied by a series of ‘specials’ that will be designed by Dutch and international offices under quality supervision of MVRDV and housing association Stadgenoot.

The strategy is comparable to a bead necklace which can be composed of a variety of different or repeating elements. The elements can be exclusive and inexpensive, large and small and repeat in different colors or materials. The plan allows for individual development of the elements within the grid: a dense urban mix of living and working within some of the elements, flexible elements facilitating transformation and development leading to a complex urban condition. Retail, an urban square and gardens are also part of the comprehensive plan.

Housing association Stadgenoot commissioned MVRDV to be architect and planner for 60,000m2 work space, 120,000m2 housing (1,000 homes), 15,000m2 education, 2,000m2 commercial space, 2,640 parking spaces and various public spaces.

Frank Bijdendijk, director of housing association Stadgenoot said “We asked MVRDV to develop in a short timeframe a plan which offers a great variety, flexibility and high quality of the building blocks. The result is magnificent. Stadgenoot is very confident that this plan will give
Olympiakwartier the exposure the quarter deserves.”

MVRDV’s project foresees in sustainable features such as natural ventilation, efficient use of daylight, mechanical parking facilities and ecological facades. Together with British engineering firm Arup an innovative ecological element is in development which will contain the latest in energy efficient and green technology.

Completion is expected in 2016, the Amsterdam based housing association Stadgenoot commissioned MVRDV and development company Kristal for the project. Dutch architecture firm Mecanoo has designed the urban masterplan and the city of Almere is supervising principal.

Posted on Sunday September 14th 2008 at 12:06 am by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • eduardo

    is there a pharmacie near by to buy some anti-depressive drugs?

  • chris

    probably, but most inhabitants will probably be looking for some E on the street corners….CAUSE ITS SO AMAZING!!!

  • it’s unfortunate that the bead metaphor, however thin a concept it actually is, resulted in a fairly conventional urban structure, except for the color. it could have resulted in something more interesting if the beads had been followed more analytically and diagrammatically–the continuity of circulation and built structure, the superstructure/infrastructure of the string, the metal connectors, the pliability of the assemblage and the infinite possibility of spatial configurations, all could have been explored. what we have here is an typical block/courtyard structure with funny colored buildings.

    • Nick

      I’m pretty certain that the design (and models) came first. Then someone will have said: “Oh, these blocks look like multi-coloured bracelets.” “Brilliant, now we have our concept! Well done!”

  • *MIRTEC*

    nothing new + not exciting = not I place I would to live in… there’s no soul in it.. lalalalalala

  • Esa

    there is going to be trouble in this visitor-non-friendly urban area.
    a new hideout from the police for druggies and gang-bangers?

  • eric luyckx

    i completely agree with david

  • matt

    david your analysis is so true, poor concept that leads to an even more poor result

  • so many wonderful ideas come out of holland.

    i’m going to have to eat more cheese.

  • Vla


    judging on the first visual at the top, even the vivid bead colours are gone…

  • wish i saw something amazing there….. or at least remotely interesting… as previous comment said, without further exploration, it is quite typical block/courtyard structure with funny colored buildings…

    pity, since MVRDV most of the time comes up with some really interesting projects…

  • freedom

    mvrdv is moving backwards.

  • zetre

    Well, it sure looks better than the Tirana project.

  • antonius

    Maybe its the only attitude you can have in this world. Being a joker.

  • steph

    Believe it or not, given what the rest of Almere looks like, this is a vast improvement. And I usually can’t stand the stuff coming out of MVRDV.

  • El Greco

    I would have expected something along the lines of Olmstead’s Emerald Necklace concept with a connective parkway acting as circulation between buildings.

    It seems rash to design such a large project in “a short timeframe” as the Director of Housing admits. Perhaps Mecanoo as master planner bears some of the responsibility here.

  • rek

    No green roofs in those renderings, I see.

  • Név*

    Trust me, those roofs won’t look like these on the renders and I’m pretty sure there will be green roofs.

  • Paul

    Cant just about every street be compared to a string of beads??

  • m

    well, as an extention neigbourhood it’s quite allright actually
    but don’t try to bluff it into some great concept, because it’s not

    though I absolutely love the (conceptual, not so much the formalistic) MVRDV – the one of Silodam, Dutch Pavillion, the Rotterdam MarketHall, Dutch Embassy, WOZOCO, they are all among the most brilliant projects I saw – Ypenburg blocks, Effenaar, etc … But what’s happening at their office lately???

  • Scott

    More information is needed isn’t it? What are the functions of these buildings, whats on street level etc… It is unfortunate, in my mind, that the buildings clearly do not have any sort of solar orientation or any of the really basic dumb sustainable stuff. Also why these beads have to be very similar sizes and shapes is something that I think could be looked into further.

  • ok…

    This is kind of your average Barcelona neighbourhood. Could be good, or could be just ok.

  • try me

    ha ha. I can see that only great successful architects comment here…. youre really embarrassing people. Why comments come only from so simple and flat people?
    Some say architecture is a mirror of a person, then why you are so f**king poor to judge clothes?
    I wish you nice try in architecture,