Port businesses can look forward to a brand-new lock control building on which construction has just started. Port of Amsterdam's State Harbour Master Marleen van de Kerkhof and ZUS architect Kristian Koreman told us about the run-up to the construction phase.
The new control building for the lock will be built halfway down the new lock's south wall on the future site of the 'Loswal', a quay. Construction of the building has just started and that is why not much of it is visible yet. The beautiful, robust building, equipped with all the modern techniques, is scheduled for completion by next year and will stand along the embankment, south of the road that runs parallel to the lock’s south wall. Marleen van de Kerkhof, Harbour Master of the Port of Amsterdam, added, "The new control building will be a perfect showpiece for the port of Amsterdam and the most eye-catching part of the new lock that - for the next century - will guarantee access to the docks lying east of the lock complex".
Grey and sturdy
Over the past three years, the architects Elma van Boxel and Kristian Koreman, together with Rijkswaterstaat, the Municipality of Velsen, and the engineers have been working on the design of the control building. Within the limitations imposed by technical and other requirements they have pushed the boundaries of modern design and engineering. It took many preliminary sketches and scale-models before they had got a fairly specific idea about what the control building had to look like. "We came to the conclusion that it should look like a monolith: an imposing grey hulk of stone with a sturdy character and an industrial look and feel", Kristian Koreman explained.
Right on top of everything
The control building, in fact, is a building complex consisting of a main building and two emergency operation buildings. "The buildings are like gatekeepers who stand watch over the dike, keeping a watchful eye on everything. Lookout openings are made in the concrete and the staircases and entrance mechanisms are painted a bright red colour". A distinctive characteristic of the design is that the building inclines towards the lock at an angle of 15 degrees. "This way, the lock keepers will have a perfect view of everything happening in the lock and will be right on top of everything that's going on there".
Ready for the future
According to Mrs Van de Kerkhof, the control building offers a perfect view of the new lock. "This new building will be the new workplace for the lock keepers and I hope they will find it a nice place to work and will feel at home. As Harbour Master, I am proud to be involved in such a fine example of Dutch infrastructural design and engineering that will improve the accessibility and guarantee the future prospects of the ports along the North Sea Canal", she said.
The list of requirements also included items with respect to ergonomics and working conditions. "What our lock keepers attach great importance to is good illumination, comfortable office chairs, and a special storage space with room for parking company bicycles and for drying the duty man's wet clothes". All requests on the wish list, which also included items such as extra space to install more control panels, if necessary, were granted. "I am greatly pleased with the way Rijkswaterstaat and OpenIJ have cooperated with each other", added Mrs Van de Kerkhof. "We had ample opportunity to indicate our priorities and they have really done their utmost to find the best solutions. The lines were short and direct, which increased efficiency and speed”.