2019 AOE Winner: Albert Cuyp Parking Garage, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

2019 Awards of Excellence: Award for Architectural Achievement

Albert Cuyp Parking Garage


Owning Agency: Municipality of Amsterdam, the Netherlands

  • Municipality of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Owner
  • ZJA Zwarts & Jansma Architects, Architects
  • Max Bögl, Contractor

The Albert Cuyp Parking Garage in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, proves it is possible to construct a substantial underground parking facility beneath a canal in marshy soil, in the middle of a densely populated area, while enabling a 19th century neighborhood to benefit from the very latest technology.

The Albert Cuyp garage is the first parking garage built under an Amsterdam canal. ZJA Zwarts & Jansma Architects designed an underground parking facility for 600 cars and 60 bicycles under the Boerenwetering Canal. Sixty of the spaces are intended for visitors to the neighborhood; the remainder are for permit holders. The disappearance of 600 parking spots on street level creates room for new playgrounds, green areas, and squares.

Every effort was made to ensure that the addition of an underground parking garage had minimal consequences for its immediate environment. The idea behind the design was to blend the parking garage into the existing urban landscape. All installations are out of sight as far as possible, and the ramps are integrated into the canal-side roads without any conspicuous elevations. The emergency exits and vents are minimalist objects in the street. The walls of the entrances are made of glass, allowing light and air to enter the parking garage and allowing easy orientation for visitors.

Due to the size and linear structure of the canal, an unambiguous cross-section was created that is the same throughout the entire 260-meter long and 30-meter wide two-story parking garage. The parking system consists of two one-way lanes with parking spaces less than an angle of 70 degrees on both sides.

The biggest challenge was building an underground parking garage in a densely populated part of the city with hardly any room for storage and with narrow and constricted access routes. Above all, there could be no damage done to the foundations of the 19th century houses.

Because the parking system records which car is parked in which slot, this qualifies as a smart garage. The real intelligence here, however, lies in the fact that not one square foot of the city has been sacrificed to house 600 cars.