Under the Kleine-Gartmanplantsoen, one of the busiest squares in Amsterdam right next to the Leidseplein, the underground bicycle parking Leidseplein designed by the architectural studio ZJA has been inaugurated. The forty lizards of Blaauw Jan, a work of art by Hans van Houwelingen have returned to the park and watch over the bicycles in the parking. On one hand the lizards of the work of art are integrated in the design of the bicycle parking. And on the other, the bridge over the Lijnbaansgracht, designed in the characteristic style of the Amsterdam School, is also a leading visual element in the design of the bicycle parking and its entrance.
ZJA, together with Ballast Nedam, was awarded the contract by the municipality of Amsterdam for the construction and design of the bicycle parking Leidseplein under the Kleine-Gartmanplantsoen. By bringing all bicycles underground, a spatial, green square has been created above ground. This has been designed by landscape architect Ruwan Aluvihare of the municipality of Amsterdam, and provides space for visitors to the Leidseplein. Thus a renewed meeting place for the city has been created.
Erik Smits, project architect at ZJA: “Before the Leidseplein underground bicycle parking garage was built, the Kleine-Gartmanplantsoen was full of bicycles. Bicycles have now been brought underground and a new place to stay has been created on the square above for visitors to walk or enjoy the sun between the bronze lizards in the park or on one of the terraces. In this way, the square has become part of the city again.”