The Hembrug site in Zaandam is a former military production facility. Between 1895 and 1996, the 43 hectare facility was usTed for the production of weapons and ammunition as well as for the storage and testing of ammunition. The area, which includes dozens of listed monuments, was mainly preserved in the original state but is now completely deserted.
SteenhuisMeurs investigated how the character of the existing buildings and the spatial layout can be kept in the redevelopment of the area. The heritage from the industrial past in the Hembrug site is surprising: it consists of nine distinct areas, with an extensive landscaping, beautiful monuments, ‘chemical heritage’, abandoned plots and ruins.
The total diversity of the area was researched. The greatest cultural historic value of the Hembrug site is its cohesion and consistency, despite the fact that a lot of the buildings have been demolished. The cultural historic agenda for the future is not only focussed on the conservation of the monuments but also on maintaining the integrity of the site. Therefore, a set of guidelines and constraints for redevelopment was drawn up. Which parts can be redeveloped? How can the cultural historic attributes be preserved while making use of the area’s potential for redevelopment? An ‘authentic’ situation is not the aim; the functional, spatial and symbolic logic of the site should be guaranteed. With this in mind, three types of recommendations have been drawn up: parts that should be conserved, redeveloped and added. The aim is not only to inspire and preserve but also to establish detailed guidelines for new development that fit into the site and respect the integrity. These findings and recommendations have been approved by the municipality and were used as a basis for the urban vision for the Hembrug site made by Palmbout Urban Landscapes.