Block 3 in Almere’s new city centre includes the public library, thirty owner-occupied flats, ground-floor shop units and spare capacity for the library. As long as this spare capacity remains unused, it will be let to service providers.
The block has a triangular ground plan and consists of two sections: (1) a triangular four-storey base containing the shops, the library and the spare capacity, and (2) a rectangular five-storey block of flats rising from the south-east corner.
The block is sculptural in form, with angled asymmetrical façades, recesses and cavities. As seen from above it has a hole in the centre, with an enclosed open-air garden separating the shops, the library and the spare capacity. There is no front or back to the building in the traditional sense — each façade is autonomous. With its apex projecting onto Stadhuisplein and its tall (eight-metre) entrance, the building is a striking piece of architecture and urban design and a prominent feature of the cityscape.
OMA designed the heart of the new city centre on two levels, an architectural device that serves to separate shoppers from other traffic. Beneath the sloping level is a second level for other road users, with features including separate bus and car lanes and ample parking space for cars, suppliers’ vehicles and bicycles.
Block 3 is on the edge of one of the slopes on the angled upper level. This level slopes from north to south, with a 6-metre change in height up to the angle. The increase in height within Block 3, from the north to the south façade, is 4.2 metres. This means that the various changes in height have been compensated for and resolved within the building. The solutions are visually reflected in the interior of the building as well as its façades.