Architect: Leonard Antonij Springer (1855-1940) / Kathryn Gustafson (1951)
Commissioned by: Amsterdam City Council
Years of construction: 1891, 2002-2003.
In the mid 19th century the city centre became polluted and attention was increasingly paid to hygiene. A need for fresh air took over the people of Amsterdam, and for that reason Amsterdams first municipal park was created in 1845: the Westerplantsoen (garden).
Park on the former terrain of the Westergasfabriek (gasworks), 2006
Due the Westerkanaal (canal) being moved, however, these public gardens were forced into disappearing. Thus a new park was created at this site in 1891: the Westerpark. It had a long access avenue, a childrens playground and a large pond. And in the summer the people of Amsterdam could head here for theatrical performances.
The open lawns of the park, 1965
In 2003 this park was joined to a new park, into which the old grounds of the gasworks were incorporated. For this the American landscape gardener Kathryn Gustafson chose a path from east to west in several layers. From classical municipal garden to korfball pitch where there is space for sport and games to a water garden where residents can escape back into nature.
Statues in the Westerpark, 2005
The idea underlying these different zones is that over the years humanity has adopted a different attitude towards nature. Furthermore, this gives each spot in the park its own atmosphere. Gustafsons work often resides in the grey area between landscape gardening and land art.